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THE 



AND REMAINS OF "V^&*T 

HENRY KIRK| WH^ 



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WITH 

LITE BY ROBEBT 



ILLUSTRATED BY BIEIET 




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LONDON: 

G. ROTJTLEDGE & CO., FARRINGDON STREET. 

NEW YORK : 18, BEEKMAN STEEET. 

1855. 



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CONTENTS. 



PAG1 

MEMOIR OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE 1 

Poems inserted in the Memoir. 

On being confined to School one pleasant Morning in Spring; 

written at the Age of Thirteen 3 

Extract from an Address to Contemplation, written at Fourteen 5 

To the Rosemary 14 

To the Morning 15 

My own Character 20 

Ode on Disappointment 25 

Lines, written in Wilford Churchyard, on Recovery from 

Sickness 28 

LETTERS 44 

Poems inserted in the Letters. 

Elegy, occasioned by the Death of Mr. Gill, who was drowned 

in the River Trent 58 

1 Yes, my stray Steps have wandered' 323 

Hints, &c. . 177 

A Prayer 178 

A Prayer • 179 

TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Sonnet, by G. L. C 181 

, by Arthur Owen, Esq 181 

, by H. Welker 182 

Lines, by the Rev. J. Plumptre 183 

Sonnet, by Capel Lofi% Esq 183 

k Lines, written in St. John's College 184 



IV CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Sonnet, by Capel Lofft <• 185 

Written in the Homer of Mr. Henry Kirke White 186 

To the Memory of Henry Kirke White, by a Lady .... 186 
Stanzas, supposed to have been written at the Grave of Henry 

Kirke White, by a Lady 189 

Ode on the late Henry Kirke White, by Juvenis . „ „ . 190 

Verses occasioned by the Death of Henry Kirke White, by 

.losiah Conder ■ ]91 

Sonnet, on seeing another, written to Henry Kirke White, in 

September, 1803, inserted in his ' Remains, by Eobert 

Southey,' by Arthur Owen , i-93 

Sonnet, in Memory of Henry Kirke White, by J. G. ... 193 
Reflections on Reading the Life of the late Henry Kirke White, 

by Wm. Holloway 194 

Lines suggested on Reading the Poem on Solitude, in the 

Second Volume of Henry Kirke White's ' Remains,' by 

F. Conder . . J 95 

To the Memory of Henry Kirke White, by the Rev. Dr. Collyer 196 
Lines on the Death of Henry Kirke White, by T. Park . . . 197 
To the Memory of Henry Kirke White, by a Lady .... 198 
Liues written on visiting the Rooms once inhabited by Henry 

Kirke White, in St. John's College, Cambridge, by Mrs. 

M. H. Hay 200 

Reflection on the early Death of Henrj Kirke White, by a Lady 200 

Extract from a Poem recently published 201 

Monody to the Memory of Henry Kirke White, by Joseph 

Blackett 202 

On visiting the Tomb of Henry Kirke White, by Mrs. M. H. Hay 205 
Lines written on reading the Remains of Henry Kirke White, 

of Nottingham, late of St. John's College, Cambridge; 

•with an Account of his Life, by Robert Southey, Esq., by 

j^rs. M. H. Hay 205 



POEMS WRITTEN BEFORE THE PUBLICATION OF 
CLIFTON GROVE. 

Childhood, Part I. ..... . 207 

II 212 

Fragment of an Eccentric Drama 220 

To a Friend 225 



CONTENTS. V 

PAGE 

On Eeading the Poems of Warton 227 

To the Muse 228 

Song, ' Softly, softly blow, ye breezes' 229 

The Wandering Boy > 230 

Fragment, ' The Western Gale' .......... 231 

Canzonet 233 

Commencement of a Poem on Despair 234 

To the Wind, a Fragment ............ 235 

The Eve of Death 236 

Thanatos 237 

Athanatos 238 

On Music 239 

Ode to the Harvest Moon 241 

The Shipwreck'd Solitary's Song . .243 

POEMS PUBLISHED UNDER THE TITLE OF 
CLIFTON GROVE, &c. 

Original Preface to Clifton Grove 247 

To my Lyre . . 249 

Clifton Grove 251 

Gondoline, a Ballad 265 

Written on a Survey of the Heavens, in the Morning before 

Day-break . ^ 274 

Lines supposed to be spoken by a Lover at the Grave of his 

Mistress 276 

My Study 278 

To an Early Primrose ............. 280 

Sonnet 1. To the Trent 282 

2. 'Give me a Cottage on some Cambrian Wild' . . 282 

3. Supposed to have been addressed by a Female 

Lunatic to a Lady 283 

4. In the Character of Dermody . 283 

5. The Winter Traveller . . . . . . . . .284 

6. By Capel Lofft, Esq. ........... 284 

7. Recantatory in reply ........... 285 

8. On hearing an iEolian Harp ....... 285 

9. * What art thou, Mighty One' 286 

« Be hush'd, be hush'd, ye bitter Winds' 287 

The Lullaby of a Female Convict to her Child 288 



VI CONTENTS. 

POEMS WRITTEN DURING, OR SHORTLY AFTER, THE 
PUBLICATION OF CLIFTON GROVE. 

PAG«I 

Ode to H. Fuseli, Esq., R. A 289 

— to the Earl of Carlisle 292 

Description of a Summer's Eve 294 

To Contemplation 296 

To the Genius of Romance. Fragment 300 

The Savoyard's Return 301 

1 Go to the raging Sea, and say, be still' 302 

Written in the Prospect of Death 303 

Pastoral Song, * Come, Anna, come' 305 

To Midnight 306 

To Thought. Written at Midnight 307 

Genius . . 308 

Fragment of an Ode to the Moon 311 

Fragment, ' Oh, thou most fatal of Pandora's train' .... 312 

Sonnet, To Capel Lofft, Esq . 314 

To the Moon 314 

Written at the Grave of a Friend ... .315 

To Misfortune 315 

' As thus oppress'd with many a heavy Care' . * . . 316 

To April 316 

' Ye unseen Spirits' 317 

To a Taper 317 

• 'Yes! 'twill be over soon' . « 318 

To Consumption ......... 318 

« Thy judgments, Lord, are just' ....... .319 



POEMS OF A LATER DATE. 






To a Friend in Distress, who, when H. K. W. reasoned with him 

calmly, asked, if he did not feel for him ....... 320 

Christmas Day J . 321 

Nelsoni Mors 323 

Hymn, ' Awake sweet Harp of Judah, wake' . . . , . .324 
Hymn for Family Worship ............ 326 

The Star of Bethlehem 327 

Hymn, ' O Lord, my God, in Mercy turn' 328 

Melody, ' Yes, once more that dying Strain' 328 

Song, by Waller, with an additional Stanza 329 






CONTENTS. Vll 

PAGE 

* I am pleased, and yet I'm sad' 33C 

Solitude 331 

If far from me the Fates remove* 332 

? Fanny, upon thy Breast I may not lie* 333 

Verses, * Thou base Kepiner at another's joy' 334 

Epigram on Robert Bloomfield 335 

FRAGMENTS. 

I. 'Saw'st thou that Light?' 336 

II. « The pious man, in this bad World' 337 

III. c Lo ! on the eastern Summit' 337 

IV. * There was a little Bird upon that Pile' 337 

V. ' O pale art thou, my Lamp' 338 

VI. ( give me Music' 333 

VII. ' Ah ! who can say, however fair his View' .... 339 
VIII. * And must thou go ?' 339 

IX. * When I sit musing on the chequer'd Past' .... 340 
X. * When high Romance, o'er every Wood and Stream . 340 

XL 'Hush'dis the Lyre' 341 

XII. ' Once more, and yet once more 341 

Fragment, * Loud rage the winds without' 342 

Verses, * When Pride and Envy' 343 

On Whit Monday 344 

On the Death of Dermody, the Poet 345 

Song, The Wonderful Juggler 347 

Sonnet, To my Mother , .... 349 

* Sweet to the gay of heart' 349 

' Quick o'er the wintry waste' 350 

TIME 351 

THE CHEISTIAD 369 

PEOSE COMPOSITIONS. 

Remarks on the English Poets 381 

Sternhold and Hopkins 384 

Remarks on the English Poets. Warton 387 

Cursory Remarks on Tragedy 390 

Melancholy Hours, No. 1 395 

II 398 

Ill 402 

IV 407 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Melancholy Hours, No. V , . . 411 

VI 416 

: VII 421 

: VIII 425 

IX 430 

X 437 

XI 440 

XII ..... 443 

BEFLECTIONS. 

I. On Prayer 449 

II 452 

ir. . . . 4fi* 



L I BE 

OF Y> 

HENRY KIRKE 







It fell to my lot to publish, with the assistance of my friend 
Mr. Cottle, the first collected edition of the works of Chat- 
terton, in whose history I felt a more than ordinary interest, 
as being a native of the same city, familiar from my childhood 
with those great objects of art and nature by which he had 
been so deeply impressed, and devoted from my childhood with 
the same ardour to the same pursuits. It is now my fortune 
to lay before the world some account of one whose early death 
is not less to be lamented as a loss to English literature, and 
whose virtues were as admirable as his genius. In the present 
instance, there is nothing to be recorded but what is honour- 
able to himself, and to the age in which he lived ; little to be 
regretted, but that one so ripe for heaven should so soon have 
been removed from the world. 

Hexpiy Ejrke White, the second son of John and Mary 
White, was bom in Nottingham, March 21st, 1785. His 
father is a butcher; his mother, whose maiden name was 
Neville, is of a respectable Staffordshire family. 

From the years of three till five, Henry learnt to read at the 
school of Mrs. Garrington; whose name, unimportant as it 
may appear, is mentioned, because she had the good sense to 
perceive his extraordinary capacity, and spoke of what it pro- 
mised with confidence. She was an excellent woman, and he 



2 LIFE OF 

describes her with affection in his poem upon Childhood. At 
a very early age his love of reading was decidedly manifested ; 
it was a passion to which everything else gave way. " I could 
fancy/ 5 says his eldest sister, " I see him in his little chair, 
with a large book upon his knee, and my mother calling, 
6 Henry, my love, come to dinner ;' which was repeated so 
often without being regarded, that she was obliged to change 
the tone of her voice before she could rouse him." When he 
was about seven, he would creep unperceived into the kitchen, 
to teach the servant to read and WTite ; and he continued this 
for some time before it was discovered that he had been thus 
laudably employed. He wrote a tale of a Swiss emigrant, 
which was probably his first composition, and gave it to this 
servant, being ashamed to show it to his mother. The con- 
sciousness of genius is always at first accompanied with this 
diffidence ; it is a sacred, solitary feeling. No forward child, 
however extraordinary the promise of his childhood, ever pro- 
duced anything truly great. ' 

When Henry was about six, he was placed under the 
Rev. John Blanchard, who kept, at that time, the best school 
in Nottingham. Here he learnt writing, arithmetic, and 
Trench. When he was about eleven, he one day wrote a 
separate theme for every boy in his class, which consisted 
of about twelve or fourteen. The master said he had never 
known them write so well upon any subject before, and could 
not refrain from expressing his astonishment at the excellence 
of Henry's. It was considered as a great thing for him to 
be at so good a school, yet there were some circumstances 
which rendered it less advantageous to him than it might 
have been. Mrs. White had not yet overcome her husband's 
intention of breeding him up to his own business : and by an 
arrangement which took up too much of his time, and would 
have crushed his spirit, if that " mounting spirit" could have 
been crushed, one whole day in the week, and his leisure 
hours on the others, were employed in carrying the butcher's 
basket. Some differences at length arose between his father 
and Mr. Blanchard, in consequence of which Henry was 
removed. 






HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 3 

One of the ushers, when he came to receive the money 
due for tuition, took the opportunity of informing Mrs. 
White what an incorrigible son she had, and that it was im- 
possible to make the lad do anything. This information made 
his friends very uneasy; they were dispirited about him; and 
had they relied wholly upon this report, the stupidity or malice 
of this man would have blasted Henry's progress for ever. 
He was, however, placed under the care of a Mr, Shipley, 
who soon discovered that he was a boy of quick perception 
and very admirable talents, and came with joy, like a good 
man, to relieve the anxiety and painful suspicions of his 
family. 

While his schoolmasters were complaining that they could 
make nothing of him, he discovered what Nature had made 
him, and wrote satires upon them. These pieces were never 
shown to any except his most particular friends, who say 
that they were pointed and severe. They are enumerated in 
the table of Contents to one of his manuscript volumes, under 
the title of School-Lampoons ; but, as was to be expected, he 
had cut the leaves out and destroyed them. 

One of his poems written at this time, and under these feel- 
ings, is preserved. 

ON BEING CONFINED TO SCHOOL ONE PLEASANT 
MORNING IN SPRING. 

WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF THIRTEEN. 

The morning sun's enchanting rays 
Now call forth every songster's praise ; 
Now the lark with upward flight, 
Gaily ushers in the light ; 
While wildly warbling from each tree, 
The birds sing songs to liberty. 

But for me no songster sings, 
Eor me no joyous lark up-springs ; 
Eor I, confin'd in gloomy school, 
Must own the pedant's iron rule, 
b 2 



4 LIFE OF 

And far from sylvan shades and bowers, 
In durance vile must pass the hours ; 
There con the scholiast's dreary lines, 
Where no bright ray of genius shines, 
And close to rugged learning cling, 
While laughs around the jocund spring. 

How gladly would my soul forego 
All that arithmeticians know, 
Or stiff grammarians quaintly teach, 
Or all that industry can reach, 
To taste each morn of all the joys 
That with the laughing sun arise ; 
And unconstrain'd to rove along 
The bushy brakes and glens among ; 
And woo the muse's gentle power 
In unfrequented rural bower ! 
But ah ! such heav'n-approaching joys 
Will never greet my longing eyes ; 
Still will they cheat in vision fine, 
Yet never but in fancy shine. 

Oh, that I were the little wren 
That shrilly chirps from yonder glen I 
Oh, far away I then would rove, 
To some secluded bushy grove ; 
There hop and sing with careless glee, 
Hop and sing at liberty ; 
And till death should stop my lays, 
Par from men would spend my days. 

About this time his mother was induced, by the advice of 
several friends, to open a ladies' boarding and day school in 
Nottingham, her eldest daughter having previously been a 
teacher in one for some time. In this she succeeded beyond 
her most sanguine expectations, and Henry's home comforts 
were thus materially increased, though it was still out of the 
power of his family to give him that education and direction 
in life which his talents deserved and required. 

It was now determined to breed him up to the hosiery 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 5 

trade, the staple manufacture of Ms native place, and at the 
age of fourteen he was placed in a stocking-loom, with the 
view, at some future period, of getting a situation in a hosier's 
warehouse. During the time that he was thus employed, he 
might he said to be truly unhappy ; he went to his work with 
evident reluctance, and could not refrain from sometimes 
hinting his extreme aversion to it : but the circumstances of 
his family obliged them to turn a deaf ear.* His mother, 

* His temper and tone of mind at this period, when he was in 
his fourteenth year, are displayed in this extract from an Address 

TO CONTEMPLATIOX. 

Thee do I own, the prompter of my joys, 
The soother of my cares, inspiring peace ; 
And I will ne'er forsake thee. Men may rave, 
And hjame and censure me, that T don't tie 
My ev'ry thought down to the desk, aud spend 
The morning of my life in adding figures 
With accurate monotony; that so 
The good things of the world may be my lot, 
And I might taste the blessedness of wealth: 
But, oh! I was not made for money getting; 
For me no much-respected plum awaits, 
Nor civic honour, envied — For as still 
I tried to cast with school dexterity 
The interesting sums, my vagrant thoughts 
Would quick revert to many a woodland haunt, 
Which fond remembrance cherish'd, and the pen 
Dropt from my senseless fingers as I pictur'd, 
In my mind's eye, how on the shores of Trent 
I erewhile wander'd with my early friends 
In social intercourse. And then I'd think 
How contrary pursuits had thrown us wide, 
One from the other, scatter'd o'er the globe; 
They were set down with sober steadiness, 
Each to his occupation. I alone, 
A wayward youth, misled by Fancy's vagaries, 
Remain' d unsettled, insecure, and veering 
With ev'ry wind to ev'ry point o' th' compass. 
Yes, in the Counting House I could indulge 
In fits of close abstraction; yea, amid 



6 LIFE OF 

however, secretly felt that lie was worthy of better things : 
to her he spoke more openly : he could not bear, he said, the 
thonght of spending seven years of his life in shining and 
folding np stockings; he wanted something to occupy his 
brain, and he should be wretched if he continued longer at 
this trade, or indeed in anything except one of the learned 

professions. These frequent complaints, after a year's appli- 

m ___^_ __^ 

The busy bustling crowds could meditate, 

And send my thoughts ten thousand leagues away 

Beyond the Atlantic, resting on my friend. 

Aye, Contemplation, ev'n in earliest youth 

I woo'd thy heav'nly influence ! I would walk 

A weary way when all my toils were done, 

To lay myself at night in some lone wood, 

And hear the sweet song of the nightingale. 

Oh, those were times of happiness, and still 

To memory doubly dear; for growing years 

Had not then taught me man was made to mourn ; 

And a short, hour of solitary pleasure, 

Stolen from sleep, was ample recompence 

For all the hateful bustles of the day. 

My op'ning mind was ductile then, and plastic, 

And soon the marks of care were worn away, 

While I was sway'd by every novel impulse, 

Yielding to all the fancies of the hour. 

But it has now assum'd its character ; 

Mark'd by strong lineaments, its haughty tone, 

Like the firm oak, would sooner break than bend. 

Yet still, oh, Contemplation ! I do love 

To indulge thy solemn musings ; still the same 

With thee alone I know to melt and weep, 

In thee alone delighting. Why along 

The dusky track of commerce should I toil, 

W T hen with an easy competence content, 

I can alone be happy ; where with thee 

I may enjoy the loveliness of nature, 

And loose the wings of Fancy ! — Thus alone 

Can I partake of happiness on Earth ; 

And to be happy here is man's chief end, 

For to be happy he must needs be good. 



HENKY KIRKE WHITE. 7 

cation, or rather misapplication (as his brother says), at the 
loom, convinced her that he had a mind destined for nobler 
pursnits. To one so sitnated, and with nothing bnt his own 
talents and exertions to depend npon, the Law seemed to 
be the only practicable line. His affectionate and excellent 
mother made every possible effort to effect his wishes, his 
father being very averse to the plan, and at length, after over- 
coming a variety of obstacles, he was fixed in the office of 
Messrs. Coldham and Enfield, attorneys and town-clerks of 
Nottingham. As no premium could be given with him, he 
was engaged to serve two years before he was articled, so that 
though he entered this office when he was fifteen, he was not 
articled till the commencement of the year 1802. 

On thus entering the law, it was recommended to him by 
his employers, that he should endeavour to obtain some know- 
ledge of Latin. He had now only the little time which an 
attorney's office, in very extensive practice, afforded; but 
great things may be done in " those hours of leisure which 
even the busiest may create,"* and to his ardent mind no 
obstacles were too discouraging. He received some instruc- 
tion in the first rudiments of this language from a person who 
then resided at Nottingham under a feigned name, but was 
soon obliged to leave it, to elude the search of government, 
who were then seeking to secure him. Henry discovered him 
to be Mr. Cormick, from a print affixed to a continuation of 
Hume and Smollett, and published, with their histories, by 
Cooke. He is, I believe, the same person who wrote a life 
of Burke. If he received any other assistance, it was very 
trifling ; yet, in the course of ten months, he enabled himself 
to read Horace with tolerable facility, and had made some 
progress in Greek, which indeed he began first. He used to 
exercise himself in declining the Greek nouns and verbs as he 
was going to and from the office, so valuable was time become 
to him. Erom this time he contracted a habit of employing 
his mind in study during his walks, which he continued to the 
end of his life. 

* Turner's Preface to the History of the Anglo-Saxons. 



8 LIFE OF 

He now became almost estranged from his family ; even at 
his meals he would be reading, and his evenings were entirely 
devoted to intellectual improvement. He had a little room 
given him, which was called his study, and here his milk 
supper was taken up to him ; for, to avoid any loss of time, 
he refused to sup with his family, through earnestly entreated 
so to do, as his mother already began to dread the effects of 
this severe and unremitting application. The law was his first 
pursuit, to which his papers show he had applied himself with 
such industry, as to make it wonderful that he could have 
found time, busied as his days were, for anything else. Greek 
and Latin were the next objects : at the same time he made 
himself a tolerable Italian scholar, and acquired some know- 
ledge both of the Spanish and Portuguese. His medical 
friends say that the knowledge he had obtained of chemistry 
was very respectable. Astronomy and electricity were among 
his studies : some attention he paid to drawing, in which it is 
probable he would have excelled. He was passionately fond 
of music, and could play very pleasingly by ear on the piano 
forte, composing the bass to the air he was playing ; but this 
propensity he checked, lest it might interfere with more im- 
portant objects. He had a turn for mechanics, and all the 
fittings up of his study were the work of his own hands. 

At a very early age, indeed soon after he was taken from 
school, Henry was ambitious of being admitted a member of a 
Literary Society then existing in Nottingham, but was objected 
to on account of his youth : after repeated attempts, and re- 
peated failures, he succeeded in his wish, through the exertions 
of some of his friends, and was elected. In a very short time, 
to the great surprise of the Society, he proposed to give them 
a lecture, and they, probably from curiosity, acceded to the 
proposal. The next evening they assembled : he lectured upon 
Genius, and spoke extempore for above two hours, in such a 
manner, that he received the unanimous thanks of the Society, 
and they elected this young Roscius of oratory their Professor 
of Literature. There are certain courts at Nottingham, in 
which it is necessary for an attorney to plead ; and he wished 
to qualify himself for an eloquent speaker, as well as a sound 
lawyer. 



HENRY KIRKB WHITE. \J 

With the profession in which he was placed, he was well 
pleased, and suffered no pursuit, numerous as his pursuits 
were, to interfere in the slightest degree with its duties. Yet 
he soon began to have higher aspirations, and to cast a wistful 
eye toward the universities with little hope of ever attaining 
their important advantages, yet probably not without some 
hope, however faint. There was at this time a magazine in 
publication, called the Monthly Preceptor, which proposed 
prize themes for boys and girls to write upon ; and which was 
encouraged by many schoolmasters, some of whom, for their 
own credit, and that of the important institutions in which 
they were placed, should have known better than to encourage 
it. But in schools, and in all practical systems of education, 
emulation is made the mainspring, as if there were not enough 
of the leaven of disquietude in our natures, without inoculat- 
ing it with this dilutement — this vaccine-virus of envy. True 
it is, that we need encouragement in youth ; that though our 
vices spring up and thrive in shade and darkness, like poison- 
ous fungi, our better powers require light and air ; and that 
praise is the sunshine, without which genius will wither, fade, 
and die ; or rather in search of which, like a plant that is de- 
barred from it, will push forth in contortions and deformity. 
But such practices as that of writing for public prizes, of pub- 
licly declaiming, and of enacting plays before the neighbouring 
gentry, teach boys to look for applause instead of being satisfied 
with approbation, and foster in them that vanity which needs 
no such cherishing. This is administering stimulants to the 
heart, instead of "feeding it with food convenient for it ;" and 
the effect of such stimulants is to dwarf the human mind, as 
lapdogs are said to be stopped in their growth by being dosed 
with gin. Thus forced, it becomes like the sapling which 
shoots up when it should be striking its roots far and deep, 
and which therefore never attains to more than a sapling's size. 

To Henry, however, the opportunity of distinguishing him- 
self, even in the Juvenile Library, was useful : if he had acted 
with a man's foresight, he could not have done more wisely 
than by aiming at every distinction within his little sphere. 
At the age of fifteen, he gained a silver medal for a translation 



10 I/TFE OF 

from Horace; and the following year a pair of twelve inch 
globes, for an imaginary Tour from London to Edinburgh. 
He determined upon trying for this prize one evening when at 
tea with his family, and at supper he read to them his per- 
formance, to which seven pages were granted in the magazine, 
though they had limited the allowance of room to three. 
Shortly afterwards he won several books for exercises on 
different subjects. Such honours were of great importance to 
him ; they were testimonies of Ins ability, which could not be 
suspected of partiality, and they prepared his father to regard 
with less reluctance that change in his views and wishes which 
afterwards took place. 

He now became a correspondent in the Monthly Mirror, a 
magazine which first set the example of typographical neatness 
in periodical publications, which has given the world a good 
series of portraits, and which deserves praise also on other 
accounts, having among its contributors some persons oi 
extensive erudition and acknowledged talents. Magazines 
are of great service to those who are learning to write ; they 
are fishing-boats, which the buccaneers of literature do not 
condescend to sink, burn, and destroy : young poets may safely 
try their strength in them; and that they should try their 
strength before the public, without danger of any shame from 
failure, is highly desirable. Henry's rapid improvement was 
now as remarkable as his unwearied industry. The pieces 
winch had been rewarded in the Juvenile Preceptor, might 
have been rivalled by many boys ; but what he produced a 
year afterwards, few men could equal. Those which appeared 
in the Monthly Mirror attracted some notice, and introduced 
him to the acquaintance of Mr. Capel Lofft, and of Mr. Hill, 
the proprietor of the work, a gentleman who is himself a lover 
of English literature, and who has probably the most copious 
collection of English poetry in existence. Their encourage- 
ment induced him, about the close of the year 1802, to prepare 
a little volume of poems for the press. It was his hope that 
this publication might, either by the success of its sale, or the 
notice which it might excite, enable him to prosecute his 
studies at college, and fit himself for the Church. Eor though 



KENRY KIRKE WHITE. 11 

so far was lie from feeling any dislike to his own profession, 
that he was even attached to it, and had indulged a hope that 
one day or other he should make his way to the bar, a deaf- 
ness, to which he had always been subject, and which appeared 
to grow progressively worse, threatened to preclude all possi- 
bility of advancement; and his opinions, which had at one 
time inclined to deism, had now taken a strong devotional bias. 
Henry was earnestly advised to obtain, if possible, some 
patroness for his book, whose rank in life, and notoriety in the 
literary world, might afford it some protection. The days of 
dedications are happily well nigh at an end ; but this was of 
importance to him, as giving his little volume consequence in 
the eyes of his friends and townsmen. The Countess of Derby 
was first applied to, and the manuscript submitted to her 
perusal. She returned it with a refusal, upon the ground that 
it was an invariable rule with her never to accept a compli- 
ment of the kind; but this refusal was couched in language 
as kind as it was complimentary, and he felt more pleasure at 
the kindness which it expressed, than disappointment at the 
failure of his application : a two pound note was inclosed as 
her subscription to the work. The Margravine of Anspach 
was also thought of. There is amongst his papers the draught 
of a letter addressed to her upon the subject, but I believe it 
was never sent. He was then recommended to apply to the 
Duchess of Devonshire. Poor Henry felt a fit repugnance at 
courting patronage in this way, but he felt that it was of con- 
sequence in his little world, and submitted ; and the manuscript 
was left, with a letter, at Devonshire House, as it had been 
with the Countess of Derby. Some time elapsed, and no 
answer arrived from her Grace ; and as she was known to be 
pestered with such applications, apprehensions began to be 
entertained for the safety of the papers. His brother Neville 
(who was now settled in London) called several times ; of 
course he never obtained an interview : the case at last be- 
came desperate, and he went with a determination not to quit 
the house till he had obtained them. After waiting four hours 
in the servants 5 hall, his perseverance conquered their idle 
insolence, and he got possession of the manuscript. And here 



12 LIFE OF 

lie, as well as his brother, sick of " dancing attendance" npon 
the great, would have relinquished all thoughts of the dedica- 
tion ; but they were urged to make one more trial : — a letter 
to her Grace was procured, with which Neville obtained au- 
dience, wisely leaving the manuscript at home; and the 
Duchess, with her usual good nature, gave permission that the 
volume should be dedicated to her. Accordingly her name 
appeared in the title page, and a copy was transmitted to her 
in due form, and in its due morocco livery, of which no notice 
was ever taken. Involved as she was in an endless round of 
miserable follies, it is probable that she never opened the book ; 
otherwise her heart was good enough to have felt a pleasure 
in encouraging the author. Oh, what a lesson would the 
history of that heart hold out ! 

Henry sent his little volume to each of the then existing 
Reviews, and accompanied it with a letter, wherein he stated 
what his advantages had been, and what were the hopes which 
he proposed to himself from the publication : requesting from 
them that indulgence of which his productions did not stand 
in need, and which it might have been thought, under such 
circumstances, would not have been withheld from works of 
less promise. It may be well conceived with what anxiety he 
looked for their opinions, and with what feelings he read the 
following article in the Monthly Ueview for February, 1804 : — 

" The circumstances under which this little volume is offered 
to the public, must, in some measure, disarm criticism. We 
have been informed, that Mr. White has scarcely attained his 
eighteenth year, has hitherto exerted himself in the pursuit of 
knowledge under the discouragements of penury and misfortune, 
and now hopes, by this early authorship, to obtain some assist- 
ance in the prosecution of Ins studies at Cambridge. He 
appears, indeed, to be one of those young men of talents and 
application who merit encouragement ; and it would be grati- 
fying to us, to hear that this publication had obtained for him 
a respectable patron, for we fear that the mere profit arising 
from the sale cannot be, in any measure, adequate to his exi- 
gencies as a student at the university. A subscription, with 



HEXRY KTRTvE WHITE. 13 

a statement of the particulars of the author's case, might have, 
been calculated to have answered his purpose ; but, as a book 
which is to 'win its way' on the sole ground of its own 
merit, this poem cannot be contemplated with any sanguine 
expectation. The author is very anxious, however, ihat critics 
should find in it something to commend, and he shall not be 
disappointed: we commend his exertions, and his laudable 
endeavours to excel; but we cannot compliment him with 
having learned the difficult art of writing good poetry. 
" Such lines as these will sufficiently prove our assertion : 

" ' Here would I run, a visionary Boy, 

When the hoarse thunder shook the vaulted Sky t 
And, fancy led, beheld the Almighty's form 
Sternly careering in the eddying storm.' 

" If Mr. White should be instructed by Alma-mater, he will, 
doubtless, produce better sense and better rhymes." 

I know not who was the writer of this precious article. It 
is certain that Henry could have no personal enemy; his 
volume fell into the hands of some dull man, who took it up 
in an hour of ill-humour, turned over the leaves to look for 
faults, and finding that Boy and Shy were not orthodox 
rhymes, according to his wise creed of criticism, sate down to 
blast the hopes of a boy, who had confessed to him all his 
hopes and all his difiiculties, and thrown himself upon his 
mercy. With such a letter before him, (by mere accident I 
saw that which had been sent to the Critical Preview,) even 
though the poems had been bad, a good man would not have 
said so ; he would have avoided censure, if he had found it 
impossible to bestow praise. But that the reader may perceive 
the wicked injustice, as well as the cruelty of this reviewal, a 
few specimens of the volume, thus contemptuously condemned 
because Boy and Shy are used as rhymes in it, shall be in- 
serted in this place. 



14 LIFE OF 



TO THE HERB ROSEMARY* 
I. 

Sweet scented flower ! who art wont to bloom 

On January's front severe, 

And o'er the wintery desert drear 
To waft thy waste perfume ! 
Come, thou shalt form my nosegay now, 
And I will bind thee round my brow ; 

And as I twine the mournful wreath, 
I'll weave a melancholy song, 
And sweet the strain shall be and long, 

The melody of death. 

II. 
Come, funeral flow'r ! who lov'st to dwell 

"With the pale corse in lonely tomb, 

And throw across the desert gloom 
A sweet decaying smell. 
Come, press my lips, and lie with me 
Beneath the lowly Alder tree, 

And we will sleep a pleasant sleep, 
And not a care shall dare intrude, 
To break the marble solitude, 

So peaceful, and so deep. 

in. 

And hark ! the wind-god, as he flies, 
Moans hollow in the forest-trees, 
And sailing on the gusty breeze, 
Mysterious music dies. 
Sweet flower ! that requiem wild is mine, 
It warns me to the lonely shrine, 
The cold turf altar of the dead ; 
My grave shall be in yon lone spot, 
Where as I lie, by all forgot, 
A dying fragrance thou wilt o'er my ashes shed. 

* The Rosemary buds in January. It is the flower commonly 
put in the coffins of the dead. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 15 

TO THE MORNING. 

WRITTEN DURING ILLNESS 

Beams of the daybreak faint ! I hail 
Your dubious hues, as ou the robe 
Of night, which wraps the slumbering globe, 

I mark your traces pale. 
Tir'd with the taper's sickly light, 
And with the wearying, numbered night, 
I hail the streaks of morn divine : 
And lo ! they break between the dewy wreathes 

That round my rural casement twine ; 
The fresh gale o'er the green lawn breathes, 
It fans my feverish brow, — it calms the mental strife, 
And cheerily re-illumes the lambent flame of life. 

The Lark has her gay song begun, 

She leaves her grassy nest, 
And soars till the unrisen sun 

Gleams on her speckled breast. 
Now let me leave my restless bed, 
And o'er the spangled uplands tread ; 

Now through the custom' d wood-walk wend; 
By many a green lane lies my way, 

Where high o'er head the wild briers bend, 

Till on the mountain's summit grey, 
I sit me down, and mark the glorious dawn of day. 

Oh, Heaven ! the soft refreshing gale 

It breathes into my breast, 
My sunk eye gleams, my cheek so pale, 

Is with new colours drest. 
Blithe Health ! thou soul of life and ease ! 
Come thou too, on the balmy breeze, 

Invigorate my frame ; 
I'll join with thee the buskin' d chase, 
With thee the distant clime will trace, 
Beyond those clouds of flame. 



13 LIFE OF 

Above, below, what charms unfold 

In all the varied view ! 
Before me all is burnish' d gold, 

Behind the twilight's hue. 
The mists which on old Night await, 
Par to the West they hold their state, 

They shun the clear blue face of Mom ; 

Along the fine cerulean sky 

The fleecy clouds successive fly, 
While bright prismatic beams their shadowy folds adorn. 

And hark ! the Thatcher has begun 

His whistle on the eaves, 
And oft the Hedger's bill is heard 

Among the rustling leaves. 
The slow team creaks upon the road, 

The noisy whip resounds, 
The driver's voice, his carol blithe, 
The mower's stroke, his whetting scythe. 

Mix with the morning's sounds. 

Who would not rather take his seat 

Beneath these clumps of trees, 
The early dawn of day to greet, 

And catch the healthy breeze, 
Than on the silken couch of Sloth 

Luxurious to lie ; 
Who would not from life's dreary waste 
Snatch, when he could, with eager haste, 

An interval of joy ! 

To him who simply thus recounts 

The morning's pleasures o'er. 
Zate dooms, ere long, the scene must close 

To ope on him no more. 
Yet, Morning ! unrepining still 

He'll greet thy beams awhile, 
And surely thou, when o'er his grave 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 17 

Solemn the whisp ; ring willows wave, 

Wilt sweetly on him smile ; 
And the pale glow-worm's pensive light 
Will guide his ghostly walks in the drear moonless night. 

An author is proof against reviewing, when, like myself, he 
has been reviewed above seventy times ; but the opinion of a 
reviewer upon his first publication, has more effect, both upon 
his feelings and his success, than it ought to have, or would 
have, if the mystery of the ungentle craft were more generally 
understood. Henry wrote to the editor, to complain of the 
cruelty with which he had been treated. This remonstrance 
produced the following answer in the next month. 

Monthly Review, March, 1804. 
ADDRESS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 

lV In the course of our long critical labours, we have neces- 
sarily been forced to encounter the resentment, or withstand 
the lamentations of many disappointed authors : but we have 
seldom, if ever, been more affected than by a letter from Mr. 
White, of Nottingham, complaining of the tendency of our 
strictures on his poem of Clifton Grove, in our last number. 
His expostulations are written with a warmth of feeling in which 
we truly sympathize, and which shall readily excuse, with us, 
some expressions of irritation : but Mr. White must receive 
our most serious declaration, that we did "judge of the book 
by the book itself;' excepting only, that from his former letter, 
we were desirous of mitigating the pain of that decision which 
our public duty required us to pronounce. We spoke with the 
utmost sincerity, when we stated our wishes for patronage to 
an unfriended man of talents, for talents Mr. White certainly 
possesses, and we repeat those wishes with equal cordiality. 
Let him still trust that, like Mr. Giffard, (see preface to his 
translation of Juvenal,) some Mr. Cookesley may yet appear, to 
foster a capacity which endeavours to escape from its present 
confined sphere of action ; and let the opulent inhabitants of 
Nottingham reflect, that some portion of that wealth which 
they have worthily acquired by the habits of industry, will be 
laudably applied in assisting the efforts of mind." 
c 



tjS LIFE OF 

Henry was not aware that reviewers are infallible. His 
letter seems to have been answered by a different writer ; the 
answer has none of the common-place and vulgar insolence of 
the criticism; but to have made any concession, would have 
been admitting that a review can do wrong, and thus violating 
the fundamental principle of its constitution. 

The poems which had been thus condemned, appeared to me 
to discover strong marks of genius. I had shown them to two 
of my friends, than whom no persons living better understand 
what poetry is, nor have given better proofs of it ; and their 
opinion coincided with my own. I was fully convinced of the 
injustice of this criticism, and having accidentally seen the 
letter which he had written to the reviewers, understood the 
whole cruelty of their injustice. In consequence of this I wrote 
to Henry, to encourage him ; told him, that though I was well 
aware how imprudent it was in young poets to publish their 
productions, his circumstances seemed to render that expedient, 
from which it would otherwise be right to dissuade him; 
advised him therefore, if he had no better prospects, to print a 
larger volume by subscription, and offered to do what little was 
in my power to serve him in the business. To this he replied 
in the following letter. 

* * * * 

"I dare not say all I feel respecting your opinion of my 
little volume. The extreme acrimony with which the Monthly 
Review (of all others the most important) treated me, threw me 
into a state of stupefaction ; I regarded all that had passed as 
a dream, and thought I had been deluding myself into an idea 
of possessing poetic genius, when in fact I had only the long- 
ing, without the afflatus. I mustered resolution enough, 
however, to write spiritedly to them: their answer, in the 
ensuing number, was a tacit acknowledgment that they had 
been somewhat too unsparing in their correction. It was a 
poor attempt to salve over a wound wantonly and most unge- 
nerously inflicted. Still I was damped, because I knew the 
work was very respectable, and therefore could not, I con- 
cluded, give a criticism grossly deficient in equity — the more 
especially, as I knew of no sort of inducement to extraordinary 
severity. Your letter, however, has revived me, and I do again 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 19 

venture to nope that I may still produce something which will 
survive me. 

" With regard to your advice and offers of assistance, I will 
not attempt, because I am unable, to thank you for them. To- 
morrow morning I depart for Cambridge, and I have consi- 
derable hopes that, as I do not enter into the University with 
any sinister or interested views, but sincerely desire to perform 
the duties of an affectionate and vigilant pastor, and become 
more useful to mankind, I therefore have hopes, I say, that I 
shall find means of support in the University. If I do not, I 
shall certainly act in pursuance of your recommendations ; 
and shall, without hesitation, avail myself of your offers of ser- 
vice, and of your directions. 

" In a short time this will be determined ; and when it is, I 
shall take the liberty ot writing to you at Keswick, to make 
you acquainted with the result. 

"I have only one objection to publishing by subscription, 
and I confess it has weight with me — It is, that in this step, I 
shall seem to be acting upon the advice so unfeelingly and con- 
tumeliously given by the Monthly Reviewers, who say what is 
equal to this — that had I gotten a subscription for my poems 
before their merit was known, I might have succeeded ; pro- 
vided, it seems, I had made a particular statement of my case ; 
like a beggar, who stands with Ins hat in one hand, and a full 
account of his cruel treatment on the coast of Barbary in the 
other, and so gives you his penny sheet for your sixpence, by 
way of half -purchase, half-charity. 

" I have materials for another volume, but they were written 
principally while Clifton Grove was in the press, or soon after, 
and do not now at all satisfy me. Indeed, of late, I have been 
obliged to desist, almost entirely, from converse with the dames 
of Helicon. The drudgery of an attorney's office, and the ne- 
cessity of preparing myself, in case I should succeed in getting 
to college, in what little leisure I could boast, left no room for 
the nights of the imagination." 

In another letter he speaks, in still stronger terms, of what 
he had suffered from the unfeeling and iniquitous criticism. 
c 2 



20 LIFE OF 

"The unfavourable review (in the Monthly) of my un- 
happy work, has cut deeper than you could have thought ; not 
in a literary point of view, but as it affects my respectability. 
It represents me actually as a beggar, going about gathering 
money to put myself at college, when my book is worthless ; 
and this with every appearance of candour. They have been 
sadly misinformed respecting me : tins review goes before me 
wherever I turn my steps ; it haunts me incessantly, and I am 
persuaded it is an instrument in the hands of Satan to drive 
me to distraction. I must leave Nottingham." 

It is not unworthy of remark, that this very reviewal, which 
was designed to crush the hopes of Henry, and suppress his 
struggling genius, has been, in its consequences, the main 
occasion of bringing his Remains to light, and obtaining for 
him that fame which assuredly will be his portion. Had it not 
been for the indignation which I felt at perusing a criticism at 
once so cruel and so stupid, the little intercourse between 
Henry and myself would not have taken place; his papers 
would probably have remained in oblivion, and his name, in a 
few years, have been forgotten. 

I have stated that his opinions were, at one time, mclininjg 
towards deism : it needs not be said on what slight grounds 
the opinions of a youth must needs be founded : while they 
are confined to matters of speculation, they indicate, whatever 
their eccentricities, only an active mind ; and it is only when a 
propensity is manifested to such principles as give a sanction 
to immorality, that they show something wrong at heart. One 
little poem of Henry's remains, which was written in this un- 
settled state of mind. It exhibits much of his character, and 
can excite no feelings towards him, but such as are favourable. 

MY OWN CHARACTER 

ADDRESSED (DURING ILLNESS) TO A LADY. 

Deau Fanny, I mean, now I'm laid on the shelf, 
To give you a sketch — ay, a sketch of myself. 
'Tis a pitiful subject, I frankly confess, 
And one it would puzzle a painter to dress ; 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 21 

But however, here goes, and as sure as a gun, 

I'll tell all my faults like a penitent nun ; 

Tor I know, for my Fanny, before I address her, 

She wont be a cynical father confessor. 

Come, come, 'twill not do ! put that curling brow down ; 

You can't, for the soul of you, learn how to frown. 

"Well, first I premise, it's my honest conviction, 

That my breast is a chaos of all contradiction ; 

Religious — Deistic — now loyal and warm ; 

Then a dagger-drawn Democrat hot for reform ; 

This moment a fop — that, sententious as Titus ; 

Democritus now, and anon Heraclitus ; 

Now laughing and pleas' d, like a child with a rattle ; 

Then vexed to the soul with impertinent tattle ; 

Now moody and sad, now unthinking and gay ; 

To all points of the compass I veer in a day. 

I'm proud and disdainful to Eortune's gay child, 
But to Poverty's offspring submissive and mild ; 
As rude as a boor, and as rough in dispute ; 
Then as for politeness — oh ! dear — I'm a brute I 
I show no respect where I never can feel it ; 
And as for contempt, take no pains to conceal it. 
And so in the suite, by these laudable ends, 
I've a great many foes, and a very few friends. 

And yet, my dear Eanny, there are who can feel, 
That this proud heart of mine is not fashioned of steeL 
It can love, (can it not ?) — it can hate, I am sure ; 
And it's friendly enough, though in friends it be poor. 
Tor itself though it bleed not, for others it bleeds ; 
If it have not ripe virtues, I'm sure it's the seeds ; 
And though far from faultless, or even so-so, 
I think it may pass as our worldly things go. 

Well, I've told you my frailties without any gloss ; 

Then as to my virtues, I'm quite at a loss ! 

I think I'm devout, and yet I can't say, 

But in process of time I may get the wrong way. 



22 LIFE OP 

I'm a general lover, if that's commendation, 

And yet can't withstand you know whose fascination. 

But I find that amidst all my tricks and devices, 

In fishing for virtues, I'm pulling up vices ; 

So as for the good, why, if I possess it, 

I am not yet learned enough to express it. 

You yourself must examine the lovelier side, 
And after your every art you have tried, 
Whatever my faults, I may venture to say, 
Hypocrisy never will come in your way. 
I am upright, I hope ; I am downright, I'm clear ! 
And I think my worst foe must allow I'm sincere ; 
And if ever sincerity glow'd in my breast, 
'Tis now when I swear * * 

About this time Mr. Pigott, the curate of St. Mary's, Not- 
tingham, hearing what was the bent of his religious opinions, 
sent him, by a friend, Scott's " Force of Truth," and requested 
him to peruse it attentively, which he promised to do. Having 
looked at the book, he told the person who brought it to him, 
that he could soon write an answer to it ; but about a fortnight 
afterwards, when this friend inquired how far he had proceeded 
in his answer to Mr. Scott, Henry's reply was in a very 
different tone and temper. He said, that to answer that book 
was out of his power, and out of any man's, for it was founded 
upon eternal truth ; that it had convinced him of his error ; 
and that so thoroughly was he impressed with a sense of the 
importance of his Maker's favour, that he would willingly give 
up all acquisitions of knowledge, and all hopes of fame, and 
live in a wilderness, unknown, till death, so he could insure an 
inheritance in heaven. 

A new pursuit was thus opened to him, and he engaged in 
it with his wonted ardour. " It was a constant feature in his 
mind," says Mr. Pigott, " to persevere in the pursuit of what 
he deemed noble and important. Religion, in which he now 
appeared to himself not yet to have taken a step, engaged all 
his anxiety, as of all concerns the most important. He could 
not rest satisfied till he had formed his principles upon the 



HEXR? KIRKE WHITE. 23 

basis of Christianity, and till he had begun in earnest to think 
and act agreeably to its pure and heavenly precepts. His mind 
loved to make distant excursions into the future and remote 
consequences of things. He no longer limited his views to the 
narrow confines of earthly existence ; he was not happy till he 
had learnt to rest and expatiate in a world to come. What he 
said to me when we became intimate is worthy of observation : 
that, he said, which first made him dissatisfied with the creed 
he had adopted, and the standard of practice which he had set 
up for himself, was the purity of mind which he perceived 
was everywhere inculcated in the Holy Scriptures, and re- 
quired of every one who would become a successful candidate 
for future blessedness. He had supposed that morality of 
conduct was all the purity required ; but when he observed 
that purity of the very thoughts and intentions of the soul 
also was requisite, he was convinced of his deficiencies, and 
could find no comfort to his penitence, but in the atonement 
made for human frailty by the Redeemer of mankind ; and no 
strength adequate to his weakness, and sufficient for resisting 
evil, but the aid of God's Spirit, promised to those who seek 
him from above in the sincerity of earnest prayer." 

Erom the moment when he had fully contracted these opi- 
nions, he was resolved upon devoting his life to the promulga- 
tion of them ; and therefore to leave the law, and, if possible, 
place himself at one of the Universities. Every argument was 
used by his friends to dissuade him from his purpose, but to 
no effect : his mind was unalterably fixed ; and great and 
numerous as the obstacles were, he was determined to sur- 
mount them all. He had now served the better half of the 
term for which he was articled ; his entrance and continuance 
in the profession had been a great expense to his family ; and 
to give up this lucrative profession, in the study of which he 
had advanced so far, and situated as he was, for one wherein 
there was so little prospect of his obtaining even a decent com- 
petency, appeared to them the height of folly or of madness. 
This determination cost his poor mother many tears ; but 
determined he was, and that by the best and purest motives. 
Without ambition he could not have existed, but his ambition 
now was to be eminently useful in the ministry. 



24 LIFE OF 

It was Henry's fortune, through his short life, as he was 
worthy of the kindest treatment, always to find it. His em- 
ployers, Mr. Coldham and Mr. Enfield, listened with a friendly 
ear to his plans, and agreed to give up the remainder of his 
time, though it was now become very valuable to them, as soon 
as they should think his prospects of getting through the Uni- 
versity were such as he might reasonably trust to ; but till 
then, they felt themselves bound, for his own sake, to detain 
him. Mr. Pigott, and Mr. Dashwood, another clergyman, who 
at that time resided in Nottingham, exerted themselves in Ins 
favour : he had a friend at Queen's College, Cambridge, who 
mentioned him to one of the Fellows of St. John's, and that 
gentleman, on the representations made to him of Henry's 
talents and piety, spared no effort to obtain for him an adequate 
support. 

As soon as these hopes were laid out to him, his employers 
gave him a month's leave of absence, for the benefit of unin- 
terrupted study, and of change of air, which his health now 
began to require. Instead of going to the sea-coast, as was 
expected, he chose for his retreat the village of Wilford, which 
is situated on the banks of the Trent, and at the foot of Clifton 
Woods. These woods had ever been his favourite place of 
resort, and were the subject of the longest poem in his little 
volume, from which, indeed, the volume was named. He 
delighted to point out to his more intimate friends the scenery 
of this poem ; the islet to which he had often forded when the 
river was not knee deep ; and the little hut wherein he had 
sate for hours, and sometimes all day long, reading or writing, 
or dreaming with his eyes open. He had sometimes wandered 
in these woods till night far advanced, and used to speak with 
pleasure of having once been overtaken there by a thunder 
storm at midnight, and watching the lightning over the river 
and the vale towards the town. 

In this village his mother procured lodgings for him, and his 
place of retreat was kept secret, except from his nearest friends. 
Soon after the expiration of the month, intelligence arrived that 
the plans which had been formed in his behalf had entirely 
failed. He went immediately to his mother : " All my hopes," 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 25 

said he, "of getting to the University are now blasted; in 
preparing myself for it, I have lost time in my profession ; I 
have much ground to get up, and as I am determined not to be 
a mediowe attorney, I must endeavour to recover what I have 
lost." The consequence was, that he applied himself more 
severely than ever to his studies. He now allowed himself no 
time for relaxation, little for his meals, and scarcely any for 
sleep. He would read till one, two, three o'clock in the morn- 
ing ; then throw himself on the bed, and rise again to his work 
at five, at the call of a larum, which he had fixed to a Dutch 
clock in his chamber. Many nights he never laid down at all. 
It was in vain that his mother used every possible means to 
dissuade him from this destructive application. In this respect, 
and in this only one, was Henry undutiful, and neither com- 
mands, nor tears, nor entreaties, could check his desperate and 
deadly ardour. At one time she went every night into his 
room, to put out his candle : as soon as he heard her coming 
up stairs, he used to hide it in a cupboard, throw himself into 
bed, and affect sleep while she was in the room ; then, when all 
was quiet, rise again, and pursue his baneful studies. 

"The night," says Henry, in one of his letters, "has been 
everything to me ; and did the world know how I have been 
indebted to the hours of repose, they would not wonder that 
night images are, as they judge, so ridiculously predominant in 
my verses." During some of these midnight hours he indulged 
himself in complaining, but in such complaints that it is to be 
wished more of them had been found among his papers. 

ODE ON DISAPPOINTMENT. 
I. 

Co^ie, Disappointment, come ! 

Not in thy terrors clad ; 
Come in thy meekest, saddest guise ; 
Thy chastening rod but terrifies 
The restless and the bad. 
But I recline 
Beneath thy shrine, 
Ajid round my brow resign' d, thy peaceful cypress twine. 



2G LIFE 0* 

II. 

Though Fancy flies away 

Before thy hollow tread, 
Yet Meditation in her cell, 
Hears with faint eye, the ling'ring knell, 
That tells her hopes are dead ; 
And though the tear 
By chance appear, 
Yet she can smile, and say, My all was not laid here. 

in. 
Come, Disappointment, come ! 

Though irom Hope's summit hurl'd, 
Still, rigid Nurse, thou art forgiven, 
Tor thou severe wert sent from heaven 
To wean me from the world ; 
To turn my eye 
Prom vanity, 
And point to scenes of bliss that never, never die. 

iv t 
What is this passing scene ? 

A peevish April day ! 
A little sun— a little rain, 
And then night sweeps along the plain, 
And all things fade away. 
Man (soon discuss 5 d) 
Yields up his trust, 
And all his hopes and fears he with him in the dust. 

v. 

Oh, what is beauty's power ? 

It flourishes and dies ; 
Will the cold earth its silence break, 
To tell how soft, how smooth a cheek 
Beneath its surface lies ? 
Mute, mute is all 
O'er beauty's fall ; 
Her praise resounds no more when mantled in her pall. 



HENRY KIKKE WHITE. 27 

VI. 

The most belov'd on earth 

Not long survives fco-day ; 
So music past is obsolete, 
And yet 'twas sweet, 'twas passing sweet, 
But now 'tis gone away. 
Thus does the shade 
In memory fade, 
When in forsaken tomb the form belov'd is laid. 

VII. 

Then since this world is vain, 

And volatile and fleet, 
Why should I lay up earthly joys, 
"Where rust corrupts, and moth destroys, 
And cares and sorrows eat ? 
Why fly from ill 
With anxious skill, 
When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing heart be still ? 

VIII. 

Come, Disappointment, come ! 

Thou art not stern to me ; 
Sad Monitress ! I own thy sway, 
A votary sad in early day, 
I bend my knee to thee. 
Erom sun to sun 
My race will run, 
I only bow, and say, My God, thy will be done. 

On another paper are a few lines, written probably in the 
freshness of h|$ disappointment. 

I dream no more — the vision flies away, 
And Disappointment * * * 
There fell my hopes — I lost my all in this, 
My cherish'd all of visionary bliss. 
Now hope farewell, farewell all joys below; 
Now welcome sorrow, and now welcome woe. 
Plunge me in glooms * * * 
• ■ 



28 LIFE OF 

His health soon sunk under these habits ; he became pale 
and thin, and at length had a sharp fit of sickness. On his 
recovery, he wrote the following lines in the churchyard of his 
favourite village. 

LINES ON RECOVERY FROM SICKNESS. 

WRITTEN IN WILFOItD CHURCH-YARD. 

Here would I wish to sleep. — This is the spot 
Which I have long inark'd out to lay my bones in ; 
Tired out and wearied with the riotous world, 
Beneath this yew I would be sepulchred. 
It is a lovely spot ! the sultry sun, 
From his meridian height, endeavours vainly 
To pierce the shadowy foliage, while the zephyr 
Comes wafting gently o'er the rippling Trent, 
And plays about my wan cheek. 'Tis a nook 
Most pleasant. — Such a one perchance did Gray 
Frequent, as with the vagrant muse he wanton' d. 
Come, I will sit me down and meditate, 
For I am wearied with my summer's walk ; 
And here I may repose in silent ease ; 
And thus, perchance, when life's sad journey's o'er, 
My harass' d soul, in this same spot, may find 
The haven of its rest — beneath this sod 
Perchance may sleep it sweetly, sound as death. 

I would not have my corpse cemented down 

With brick and stone, defrauding the poor earthworm 

Of its predestined dues ; no, I would lie 

Beneath a little hillock, grass o'ergrown, 

Swath'd down with oziers, just as sleep the cotters* 

Yet may not undistinguish 'd be my grave ; 

But there at eve may some congenial soul 

Duly resort, and shed a pious tear, 

The good man's benison — no more I ask. 

And oh ! (if heavenly beings may look down 

From where, with cherubim inspired, they sit, 

Upon this little dim-discover'd spot, 

The earth,) then will I cast a glance below 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 29 

On him who thus my ashes shall embalm ; 
And I will weep too, and will bless the wanderer, 
Wishing he may not long be doom'd to pine 
In this low-thoughted world of darkling woe, 
But that, ere long, he reach his kindred skies. 

Yet 'twas a silly thought — as if the body, 

Mouldering beneath the surface of the earth, 

Could taste the sweets of summer scenery, 

And feel the freshness of the balmy breeze ! 

Yet nature speaks within the human bosom, 

And, spite of reason, bids it look beyond 

His narrow verge of being, and provide 

A decent residence for its clayey shell, 

Endear' d to it by time. And who would lay 

His body in the city burial-place, 

To be thrown up again by some rude sexton, 

And yield its narrow house another tenant, 

Ere the moist flesh had mingled with the dust, 

Ere the tenacious hair had left the scalp, 

Exposed to insult lewd, and wantonness ? 

No, I will lay me in the village ground ; 

There are the dead respected. The poor hind, 

Unlettered as he is, would scorn to invade 

The silent resting-place of death. I've seen 

The labourer, returning from his toil, 

Here stay his steps, and call his children round, 

And slowly spell the rudely sculptured rhymes, 

And, in his rustic manner, moralize. 

I've mark'd with what a silent awe he'd spoken, 

With head uncover' d, his respectful manner, 

And all the honours which he paid the grave, 

And thought on cities, where even cemeteries, 

Bestrew' d with all the emblems of mortality, 

Are not protected from the drunken insolence 

Of wassailers profane, and wanton havoc. 

Grant, Heaven, that here my pilgrimage may close ! 

Yet, if this be denied, where'er my bones 

May lie— or in the city's crowded bounds, 



30 LIFE OF 

Or scatter 5 d wide o'er the huge sweep of waters, 

Or left a prey on some deserted shore 

To the rapacious cormorant, — yet still, 

(Tor why should sober reason cast away 

A thought which soothes the soul ?) — yet still my Spirit 

Shall wing its way to these my native regions, 

And hover o'er this spot. Oh, then Til think 

Of times when I was seated 'neath this yew 

In solemn iTiinination ; and will smile 

"With joy that I have got my long'd release. 



His friends are of opinion that he never thoroughly re- 
covered from the shock which his constitution had sustained. 
Many of his poems indicate that he thought himself in danger 
of consumption ; he was not aware that he was generating or 
fostering in himself another disease, little less dreadful, and 
which threatens intellect as well as life. At this time youth 
was in his favour, and his hopes, which were now again re- 
newed, produced perhaps a better effect than medicine. Mr. 
Dashwood obtained for him an introduction to Mr. Simeon, of 
King's College, and with this he was induced to go to Cam- 
bridge. Mr. Simeon, from the recommendation which he 
received, and from the conversation he had with him, promised 
to procure for him a Sizarship at St. John's, and, with the 
additional aid of a friend, to supply him with 30Z. annually. 
His brother Seville promised twenty ; and his mother, it was 
hoped, would be able to allow fifteen or twenty more. With 
this, it was thought, he could go through college. If this 
prospect had not been opened to him, he would probably have 
turned his thoughts towards the orthodox dissenters. 

On his return to Nottingham, the Rev. Robinson, of 

Leicester, and some other friends, advised him to apply to the 
Elland Society for assistance, conceiving that it would be less 
oppressive to his feelings to be dependent on a Society insti- 
tuted for the express purpose of training up such young men 
as hims elf (that is, such in circumsiances and opinions) for the 
ministry, than on the bounty of an individual. In consequence, 
of this advice, he went to Elland at the next meeting of the 
Society, a stranger there, an^ without one friend among the 



HENRY KTRKE WHITE. 31 

members. He was examined, for several hours, by about five- 
and-twenty clergymen, as to his religious views and sentiments, 
his theological knowledge, and his classical attainments. In 
the course of the inquiry, it appeared that he had published a 
volume of poems : their questions now began to be very un- 
pleasantly inquisitive concerning the nature of these poems, 
and he was assailed by queries from all quarters. It was well 
for Henry that they did not think of referring to the Monthly 
Review for authority. My letter to him happened to be in 
his pocket ; he luckily recollected this, and produced it as a 
testimony in his favour. They did me the honour to say that 
it was quite sufficient, and pursued this part of their inquiry 
no farther. Before he left Elland, he was given to understand 
that they were well satisfied with his theological knowledge ; 
that they thought his classical proficiency prodigious for his 
age, and that they had placed him on their books. He re- 
turned little pleased with his journey. His friends had been 
mistaken ; the bounty of an individual calls forth a sense of 
kindness, as well as of dependence : that of a Society has the 
virtue of charity perhaps, but it wants the grace. He now 
wrote to Mr. Simeon, stating what he had done, and that the 
beneficence of his unknown friends was no longer necessary : 
but that gentleman obliged him to decline the assistance of 
the Society, which he very willingly did. 

This being finally arranged, he quitted his employers in 
October, 1804. How much he had conducted himself to their 
satisfaction, will appear by this testimony of Mr. Enfield, to 
his diligence and uniform worth. "I have great pleasure," 
says this gentleman, " in paying the tribute to his memory, of 
expressing the knowledge which was afforded me, during the 
period of his connexion with Mr. Coldham and myself, of his 
diligent application, his ardour for study, and his virtuous and 
amiable disposition. He very soon discovered an unusual 
aptness in comprehending the routine of business, and great 
ability and rapidity in the execution of everything which was 
entrusted to him. His diligence and punctual attention were 
unremitted, and his services became extremely valuable a con- 
siderable tune before he left us. He seemed to me to have no 
relish for the ordinary pleasures and dissipations of young 



32 LIFE OF 

men ; his mind was perpetually employed, either in the business 
of Ins profession, or in private study. With his fondness for 
literature, we were well acquainted, but had no reason to offer 
any check to it, for he never permitted the indulgence of his 
literary pursuits to interfere with the engagements of business. 
The difficulty of hearing, under which he laboured, was dis- 
tressing to him in the practice of his profession, and was, I 
think, an inducement, in co-operation with his other inch- 
nations, for his resolving to relinquish the law. I can, with 
truth, assert, that his determination was matter of serious 
regret to my partner and myself." 

Mr. Simeon had advised him to degrade for a year, and 
place himself, during that time, under some scholar. He went 

accordingly to the Rev. Grainger, of Winteringham, in 

Lincolnshire, and there, notwithstanding all the entreaties of 
his friends, pursuing the same unrelenting course of study, a 
second illness was the consequence. When he was recovering, 
he was prevailed upon to relax, to ride on horseback, and to 
drink wine; these latter remedies he could not long afford, 
and he would not allow himself time for relaxation when he 
did not feel its immediate necessity. He frequently, at this 
time, studied fourteen hours a day: the progress which h( 
made in twelve months was indeed astonishing : when he went 
to Cambridge, he was immediately as much distinguished for 
his classical knowledge as his genius : but the seeds of death 
were in him, and the place to which he had, so long looked on 
with hope, served unhappily as a hot-house to ripen them.* 

During his first term, one of the University Scholarships 

* During his residence in my family, says Mr. Grainger, his con- 
duct was highly becoming, and suitable to a Christian profession. 
He was mild and inoffensive, modest, unassuming, and affectionate. 
He attended, with great cheerfulness, a Sunday-school which I was 
endeavouring to establish in the village, and was at considerable 
pains in the instruction of the children ; and I have repeatedly ob- 
served, that he was most pleased and most edified, with such of my 
sermons and addresses to my people, as were most close, plain, and 
familiar. When we parted, we parted with mutual regret ; and by 
us his name will long be remembered with affection and delight. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 33 

became vacant, and Henry, young as he was in College, and 
almost self-taught, was advised, by those who were best able to 
estimate his chance of success, to offer himself as a competitor 
for it. He past the whole term in preparing himself for this, 
reading for College subjects in bed, in his walks, or, as he says, 
where, when, and how he could, never having a moment to 
spare, and often going to his tutor without having read at all. 
His strength sunk under this, and though he had declared 
liimself a candidate, he was compelled to decline ; but this was 
not the only misfortune. The general College examination 
came on ; he was utterly unprepared to meet it, and believed 
that a failure here would have ruined his prospects for ever. 
He had only about a fortnight to read what other men had 
been the whole term reading. Once more he exerted himself 
beyond what his shattered health could bear; the disorder 
returned, and he went to his tutor, Mr. Catton, with tears in 
his eyes, and told him that he could not go into the Hall to be 
examined. Mr. Catton, however, thought his success here of 
so much importance, that he exhorted him, with all possible 
earnestness, to hold out the six days of the examination. 
Strong medicines were given him, to enable him to support it, 
and he was pronounced the first man of his year. But life was 
the price which he was to pay for such honours as this, and 
Henry is not the first young man to whom such honours have 
proved fatal. He said to his most intimate friend, almost the 
last time he saw him, that were he to paint a picture of Eame, 
crowning a distinguished under-graduate, after the Senate- 
house examination, he would represent her as concealing a 
Death's head under a mask of beauty. 

When this was over he went to London. London was a 
new scene of excitement, and what his mind required was tran- 
quillity and rest. Before he left College, he had become 
anxious concerning his expenses, fearing that they exceeded his 
means. Mr. Catton perceived this, and twice called him to his 
rooms, to assure him of every necessary support, and every 
encouragement, and to give him every hope. This kindness 
relieved his spirits of a heavy weight, and on his return he 
relaxed a little from his studies, but it was only a little. I 

D 



34 LIFE OF 

found among his papers the day thus planned out : — "Rise at 
half-past five. Devotions and walk till seven. Chapel and 
breakfast till eight. Study and lectures till one. Four and a 
half clear reading. Walk &c. and dinner, and Woollaston, 
and chapel to six. Six to nine, reading — three hours. Nine 
to ten, devotions. Bed at ten." 

Among his latest writings are these resolutions : — 

• f I will never be in bed after six. 

I will not drink tea out above once a week, excepting on Sun- 
days, unless there appear some good reason for so doing. 

I will never pass a day without reading some portion of the 
Scriptures. 

I will labour diligently in my mathematical studies, because I 
half suspect myself of a dislike to them. 

I will walk two hours a day, upon the average of every week. 

Sit mild gratia addita ad hcec facienda." 



About this time, judging by the hand- writing, he wrote 
down the following admonitory sentences, which, as the paper 
on which they are written is folded into the shape of a very 
small book, it is probable he carried about with him as a 
manual. 

" 1. Death and judgment are near at hand. 

2. Though thy bodily part be now in health and ease, the 
dews of death will soon sit upon thy forehead. 

3. That which seems so sweet and desirable to thee now, 
will, if yielded to, become bitterness of soul to thee all thy life 
after. 

4. When the waters are come over thy soul, and when, in 
the midst of much bodily anguish, thou distinguishest the dim 
shores of Eternity before thee, what wouldest thou not give to 
be lighter by this one sin ? 

5. God has long withheld his arm ; what if his forbearance 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 35 

be now at an end ? Canst thou not contemplate these things 
with the eyes of death ? Art thou not a dying man, dying 
every day, every hour ? 

6. Is it not a fearful thing to shrink from the summons 
when it comes ? — to turn with horror and despair from the 
future being ? Think what strains of joy and tranquillity fall 
on the ear of the saint who is just swooning into the arms of 
his Redeemer ; what fearful shapes, and dreadful images of a 
disturbed conscience, surround the sinner's bed, when the last 
twig which he grasped fails him, and the gulf yawns to 
receive him. 

7. Oh, my soul, if thou art yet ignorant of the enormity of 
sin, turn thine eyes to the man who is bleeding to death on 
the cross ! See how the blood from his pierced hands trickles 
down his arms, and the more copious streams from his feet run 
on the accursed tree, and stain the grass with purple ! Behold 
his features, though scarcely animated with a few remaining 
sparks of life, yet how full of love, pity, and tranquillity ! A 
tear is trickling down his cheek, and his lip quivers. He is 
praying for his murderers ! 0, my soul ! it is thy Redeemer — 
it is thy God ! And this too for Sin — for Sin ! and wilt thou 
ever again submit to its yoke ? 

8. Remember that the grace of the Holy Spirit of God is 
ready to save thee from transgression. It is always at hand : 
thou canst not sin without wilfully rejecting its aid. 

9. And is there real pleasure in sin ? Thou knowest there 
is not. But there is pleasure, pure and exquisite pleasure, in 
holiness. The Holy Ghost can make the paths of religion and 
virtue, hard as they seem, and thorny, ways of pleasantness and 
peace, where, though there be thorns, yet are there also roses ; 
and where all the wounds which we suffer in the flesh, from 
the hardness of the journey, are so healed by the balm of the 
spirit, that they rather give joy than pain." 



The exercise which Henry took was no relaxation ; he still 
continued the habit of studying while he walked ; and in this 
D 2 



36 LIFE 01* 

manner, while he was at Cambridge, committed to memory a' 
whole tragedy of Euripides. Twice he distinguished himself in 
the following year, being again pronounced first at the great Col- 
lege examination, and also one of the three best theme writers, 
between whom the examiners could not decide. The College 
offered him, at their expense, a private tutor in mathematics, 
during the long vacation; and Mr. Catton, by procuring for 
him exhibitions to the amount of 66Z. per annum, enabled him 
to give up the pecuniary assistance which he had received from 
Mr. Simeon and other friends. This intention he had ex- 
pressed in a letter, written twelve months before his death. 
" With regard to my college expenses, (he says,) I have the 
pleasure to inform you, that I shall be obliged, in strict recti- 
tude, to waive the offers of many of my friends. I shall not 
even need the sum Mr. Simeon mentioned, after the first year ; 
and it is not impossible that I may be able to live without any 
assistance at all. I confess I feel pleasure at the thought of 
tins, not through any vain pride of independence, but because 
I shall then give a more unbiassed testimony to the truth, than 
if I were supposed to be bound to it by any ties of obligation 
or gratitude. I shall always feel as much indebted for intended 
as for actually afforded assistance ; and though I should never 
think a sense of thankfulness an oppressive burthen, yet I shall 
be happy to evince it, when in the eyes of the world the obli- 
gation to it has been discharged." Never, perhaps, had any 
young man, in so short a time, excited such expectations; 
every University honour was thought to be within his reach ; 
he was set down as a medallist, and expected to take a senior 
wrangler's degree ; but these expectations were poison to 
him ; they goaded him to fresh exertions when his strength 
was spent. His situation became truly miserable : to his 
brother, and to his mother, he wrote always that he had 
relaxed in his studies, and that he was better ; always holding 
out to them his hopes, and his good fortune : but to the most 
intimate of his friends, (Mr. Maddock), his letters told a 
different tale : to him he complained of dreadful palpitations — 
of nights of sleeplessness and horror, and of spirits depressed 
to the very depth of wretchedness, so that he went from one 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 37 

acquaintance to another, imploring society, even as a starving 
beggar intreats for food. Daring the course of this summer, 
it was expected that the Mastership of the Free-School at 
Nottingham would shortly become vacant. A relation of his 
family was at that time mayor of the town ; he suggested to 
them what an advantageous situation it would be for Henry, 
and offered to secure for him the necessary interest. But, 
though the salary and emoluments are estimated at from 40 0£. 
to 600£. per annum, Henry declined the offer ; because, had 
lie accepted it, it would have frustrated his intentions with 
respect to the ministry. This was certainly no common act of 
forbearance in one so situated as to fortune, especially as the 
hope which he had most at heart, was that of being enabled to 
assist his family, and in some degree requite the care and 
anxiety of his father and mother, by making them comfortable 
in their declining years. 

The indulgence shown him by his college, in providing him 
a tutor during the long vacation, was peculiarly unfortunate. 
His only chance of life was from relaxation, and home was the 
only place where he would have relaxed to any purpose. 
Before this time he had seemed to be gaining strength; it 
failed as the year advanced : he went once more to London, to 
recruit himself, — the worst place to which he could have gone; 
the variety of stimulating objects there hurried and agitated 
him, and when he returned to College, he was so completely 
ill, that no power of medicine could save him. His mind was 
worn out, and it was the opinion of his medical attendants, 
that if he had recovered, his intellect would have been affected. 
His brother Neville was just at this time to have visited him. 
On his first seizure, Henry found himself too ill to receive him, 
and wrote to say so ; he added, with that anxious tenderness 
towards the feelings of a most affectionate family which always 
appeared in his letters, that he thought himself recovering ; 
but his disorder increased so rapidly, that this letter was never 
sent ; it was found in his pocket after his decease. One of 
his friends wrote to acquaint Neville with Ins danger : he 
hastened down; but Henry was delirious when he arrived. 
He knew him only for a few moments ; the next day sunk into 



38 LIFE OF 

a state of stupor; and on Sunday, October 19th, 1806, it 
pleased God to remove hhn to a better world, and a higher 
state of existence. 

****** 

The will which I had manifested to serve Henry, he had 
accepted as the deed, and had expressed himself upon the sub- 
ject in terms which it would have humbled me to read, at any 
other time than when I was performing the last service to his 
memory. On his decease, Mr. B. Maddock addressed a letter 
to me, informing me of the event, as one who had professed 
an interest in his friend's fortunes. I inquired, in my reply, 
if there was any intention of publishing what he might have 
left, and if I could be of any assistance in the publication; this 
led to a correspondence with his excellent brother, and the 
whole of his papers were consigned into my hands, with as 
many of his letters as could be collected. 

These papers (exclusive of the correspondence) filled a box 
of considerable size. Mr. Coleridge was present when I 
opened them, and was, as well as myself, equally affected and 
astonished at the proofs of industry which they displayed. 
Some of them had been written before his hand was formed, 
probably before he was thirteen. There were papers upon 
law, upon electricity, upon chemistry, upon the Latin and 
Greek languages, from their rudiments to the higher branches 
of critical study, upon history, chronology, divinity, the fathers, 
&c. Nothing seemed to have escaped him. His poems were 
numerous : among the earliest, was a sonnet addressed to 
myself, long before the little intercourse which had subsisted 
between us had taken place. Little did he think, when it was 
written, on what occasion it would fall into my hands. He 
had begun three tragedies when very young : one was upon 
Boadicea, another upon Inez de Castro : the third was a 
fictitious subject. He had planned also a History of Notting- 
ham. There was a letter upon the famous Nottingham election, 
which seemed to have been intended either for the newspapers, 
or for a separate pamphlet. It was written to confute the 
absurd stories of the Tree of Liberty, and the Goddess of Rea- 
son; with the most minute knowledge of the circumstances, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 39 

and a not improper feeling of indignation against so infamons 
a calumny ; and this came with more weight from him, as his 
party inclinations seemed to have leaned towards the side 
which he was opposing. This was his only finished composi- 
tion in prose. Much of his time, latterly, had been devoted 
to the study of Greek prosody : he had begun several poems 
in Greek, and a translation of the Samson Agonist es. I have 
inspected all the existing manuscripts of Chatterton, and they 
excited less wonder than these. 

Had my knowledge of Henry terminated here, I should 
have hardly believed that my admiration and regret for him 
could have been increased; but I had yet to learn that his 
moral qualities, his good sense, and his whole feelings, were as 
admirable as his industry and genius. All his letters to his 
family have been communicated to me without reserve, and 
most of those to his friends. A selection from these are 
arranged in chronological order, in these volumes,* which will 
make him his own biographer, and lay open to the world as 
pure, and as excellent, a heart, as it ever pleased the Almighty 
to warm with life. Much has been suppressed, which, if 
Henry had been, like Chatterton, of another generation, I 
should willingly have published, and the world would willingly 
have received ; but in doing honour to the dead, I have been 
scrupulously careful never to forget the living. 

It is not possible to conceive a human being more amiable 
in all the relations of life. He was the confidential friend and 
adviser of every member of his family ; this he instinctively 
became ; and the thorough good sense of his advice is not less 
remarkable than the affection with which it is always com- 
municated. To his mother, he is as earnest in beseeching her 
to be careful of her health, as he is in labouring to convince 
her that his own complaints were abating ; his letters to her 
are always of hopes, of consolation, and of love. To Neville 
he writes with the most brotherly intimacy, still, however, in 
that occasional tone of advice which it was his nature to as- 
sume, not from any arrogance of superiority, but from earnest- 

* The Remains of H. Kirke White were originally published 
in two volumes. 



40 LIFE OF 

ness of pure affection. To his younger brother lie addresses 
himself like the tenderest and wisest parent ; and to two 
sisters, then too young for any other communication, he writes 
to direct their studies, to inquire into their progress, to en- 
courage, and to improve them. Such letters as these are not 
for the public ; but they to whom they are addressed will lay 
them to their hearts like relics, and will find in them a saving 
virtue, more than ever relics possessed. 

With regard to his poems, the criterion for selection was 
not so plain ; undoubtedly many have been chosen which he 
.himself would not have published, and some few which, had 
he lived to have taken that rank among English poets which 
would assuredly have been wit Inn his reach, I also should then 
have rejected among his posthumous papers. I have, how- 
ever, to the best of my judgment, selected none which does 
not either mark the state of his mind, or its progress, or dis- 
cover evident proofs of what he would have been, if it had not 
been the will of Heaven to remove him so soon. The reader 
who feels any admiration for Henry will take some interest in 
all these remains, because they are his ; he who shall feel none 
must have a blind heart, and therefore a blind understanding. 
Such poems are to be considered as making up his history. 
But the greater number are of such beauty, that Chatterton is 
the only youthful poet whom he does not leave far behind him. 

"While he was under Mr. Grainger, he wrote very little ; 
and when he went to Cambridge, he was advised to stifle his 
poetical fire, for severer and more important studies ; to lay a 
billet on the embers until he had taken his degree, and then 
he might fan it into a flame again. This advice he followed 
so scrupulously, that a few fragments, written chiefly upon 
the back of his mathematical papers, are all which he produced 
at the University. The greater part, therefore, of these poems, 
indeed nearly the whole of them, were written before he was 
nineteen. Wise as the advice may have been which had been 
given him, it is now to be regretted that he adhered to it, his 
latter fragments bearing all those marks of improvement which 
were to be expected from a mind so rapidly and continually 
progressive. Frequently he expresses a fear that early death 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 41 

would rob Mm of his fame ; yet, short as his life was, it has 
been long enough for him to leave works worthy of remem- 
brance. The very circumstance of his early death gives a new 
interest to his memory, and thereby new force to his example. 
Just at that age when the painter would have wished to fix 
his likeness, and the lover of poetry would delight to con- 
template him, in the fair morning of his virtues, the full spring 
blossom of his hopes, — just at that age hath death set the seal 
of eternity upon him, and the beautiful hath been made per- 
manent. To the young poets who come after him, Henry will 
be what Chatterton was to him ; and they will find in him an 
example of hopes, with regard to worldly fortune, as humble, 
and as exalted in all better things, as are enjoined equally by 
wisdom and religion, by the experience of man, and the word 
of God. And this example will be as encouraging as it is 
excellent. It has been too much the custom to complain that 
genius is neglected, and to blame the public when the public 
is not in fault. They who are thus lamented as the victims of 
genius, have been, in almost every instance, the victims of 
their own vices ; while genius has been made, like charity, to 
cover a multitude of sins, and to excuse that which in reality 
it aggravates. In this age, and in this country, whoever 
deserves encouragement, is, sooner or later, sure to receive it. 
Of this, Henry's history is an honourable proof. The par- 
ticular patronage which he accepted, was given as much to his 
piety and religious opinions, as to his genius ; but assistance 
was offered him from other quarters. Mr. P. Thomson (of 
Boston, Lincolnshire), merely upon perusing his little volume, 
wrote to know how he could serve him ; and there were many 
friends of literature who were ready to have afforded hhn any 
support which he needed, if he had not been thus provided. 
In the University, he received every encouragement which he 
merited, and from Mr. Simeon, and his tutor, Mr. Catton, the 
most fatherly kindness. 

" I can venture," says a lady of Cambridge, in a letter to 
hjs brother, " I can venture to say, with certainty, there was 
no member of the University, however high his rank or talents, 
who would not have been happy to have availed themselves of 



42 LIFE OF 

the opportunity of being acquainted with Mr. Henry Kirke 
"White. I mention this to introduce a wish, which has been 
expressed to me so often by the senior members of the Uni- 
versity, that I dare not decline the task they have imposed 
upon me ; it is their hope that Mr. Southey will do as much 
justice to Mr. Henry White's limited wishes, to his unas- 
suming pretensions, and to his rational and fervent piety, as to 
his various acquirements, his polished taste, his poetical fancy, 
his undeviating principles, and the excellence of his moral 
character; and that he will suffer it to be understood, that 
these inestimable qualities had not been unobserved, nor would 
they have remained unacknowledged. It was the general obser- 
vation, that he possessed genius without its eccentricities." 

Of his fervent piety, his letters, Ins prayers, and his hymns, 
will afford ample and interesting proofs. I must be permitted 
to say, that my own views of the religion of Jesus Christ differ 
essentially from the system of belief which he had adopted ; 
but, having said this, it is, indeed, my anxious wish to do full 
justice to piety so fervent. It was in him a living and quick- 
ening principle of goodness, which sanctified all his hopes, and 
all his affections ; winch made him keep watch over his own 
heart, and enabled him to correct the few symptoms which it 
ever displayed of human imperfection. 

His temper had been irritable in his younger days, but this 
he had long since effectually overcome : the marks of youthful 
confidence, which appear in his earliest letters, had also disap- 
peared ; and it was impossible for man to be more tenderly 
patient of the faults of others, more uniformly meek, or more 
unaffectedly humble. He seldom discovered any sportiveness 
of imagination, though he would very ably and pleasantly rally 
any one of his friends for any little peculiarity ; his conversa- 
tion was always sober, and to the purpose. That which is 
most remarkable in him, is his uniform good sense, a faculty 
perhaps less common than genius. There never existed a more 
dutiful son, a more affectionate brother, a warmer friend, nor a 
devout er christian. Of his powers of mind it is superfluous to 
speak ; they were acknowledged wherever they were known. 
It would be idle too, to say what hopes were entertained of 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 43 

him, and what he might have accomplished in literature. These 
volumes contain what he has left, — immature buds, and blos- 
soms shaken from the tree, and green fruit; yet will they 
evince what the harvest would have been, and secure for him 
that remembrance upon earth for which he toiled. 

" Thou soul of God's best earthly mould, 
Thou happy soul ! aud can it be 
That these * * * 
Are all that must remain of thee !* 

Wordsworth. 



LETTERS. 



TO I1IS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, September, 1799. 
Dear Brother, 

Li consequence of your repeated solicitations, I now sit 
down to write to you, although I never received an answer to 
the last letter which I wrote, nearly six months ago ; but as I 
never heard you mention it in any ot my mother's letters, I am 
induced to think it has miscarried, or been mislaid in your 
office. 

It is now nearly four months since I entered into Mr. Cold- 
ham's office, and it is with pleasure I can assure you that I 
never yet found any thing disagreeable, but, on the contrary, 
every thing I do seems a pleasure to me, and for a very obvious 
reason; — it is a business which I like — a business which I 
chose before all others ; and I have two good-tempered, easy 
masters, but who will, nevertheless, see that their business is 
done in a neat and proper manner. The study of the law is 
well known to be a dry, difficult task, and requires a compre- 
hensive, good understanding ; and I hope you will allow me 
(without charging me with egotism) to have a tolerable one ; 
and I trust, with perseverance, and a very large law library to 
refer to, I shall be able to accomplish, the study of so much of 
the laws of England, and our system of jurisprudence, in less 
than five years, as to enable me to be a country attorney ; and 
then, as I shall have two more years to serve, I hope I shall 
attain so much knowledge in all parts of the law, as to enable 
me, with a little study at the inns of court, to hold an argu- 
ment, on the nice points in the law, with the best attorney in 
the kingdom. A man that understands the law is sure to have 
business ; and in case I have no thoughts, in case, that is, that 



LETTERS OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 4.0 

I do not aspire to hold the honourable place of a barrister, I 
shall feel sure of gaining a genteel livelihood at the business 
to which I am articled. 

I attend at the office at eight in the morning, and leave at 
eight in the evening ; then attend my Latin until nine, which, 
you may be sure, is pretty close confinement. 

Mr. Coldham is clerk to the commercial commissioners, 
which has occasioned us a deal of extraordinary work. I 
worked all Sunday, and until twelve o'clock on Saturday night, 
when they were hurried to give in the certificates to the bank. 
We had also a very troublesome cause last assizes, The Cor- 
poration versus Gee, which we (the attornies for the corpora- 
tion) lost. It was really a very fatiguing day, (I mean the 
day on which it was tried.) I never got any thing to eat, from 
five in the afternoon the preceding day, until twelve the next 
night, when the trial ended . 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 26th June, 1800. 
Dear Brother, 

***** 

My mother has allowed me a good deal lately for books, 
and I have a large assortment, (a retailer's phrase.) But I 
hope you do not suppose they consist of novels ; — no — I have 
made a firm resolution never to spend above one hour at this 
amusement. Though I have been obliged to enter into this 
resolution in consequence of a vitiated taste acquired by reading 
romances, I do not intend to banish them entirely from my 
desk. After long and fatiguing researches in Blackstone or 
Coke, when the mind becomes weak, through intense applica- 
tion, Tom Jones, or Bobinson Crusoe, will afford a pleasing 
and necessary relaxation. 

Apropos — now we are speaking of Bobinson Crusoe, I shall 
observe, that it is allowed to be the best novel for youth in 
the English language. De Eoe, the author, was a singular 
character ; but as I make no doubt you have read his life, I 
will not trouble you with any further remarks. 



46 LETTERS OF 

The books which I now read with attention, are Blackstone, 
Knox's Essays, Plutarch, Chesterfield's Letters, four large 
volumes, Virgil, Homer, and Cicero, and several others. Black- 
stone and Knox, Virgil and Cicero, I have got ; the others I 
read out of Mr. Coldham's library. I have finished Rollin's 
Ancient History, Blair's Lectures, Smith's Wealth of Nations, 
Hume's England, and British Nepos, lately. When I have 
read Knox, I will, send it you, and recommend it to your atten- 
tive perusal ; it is a most excellent work. I also read now 
the British Classics, the common edition of which I now take 
in ; it comes every fortnight ; I dare say you have seen it ; it 
is Cooke's edition. I would recommend you also to read 
these ; I will send them to you. I have got the Citizen of the 
World, Idler, Goldsmith's Essays, and part of the Rambler. 
I will send you soon the fourth number of the Monthly Pre- 
ceptor. I am noticed as worthy of commendation, and as 
affording an encouraging prospect of future excellence. — You 
will laugh. I have also turned poet, and have translated an 
ode of Horace into English verse, also for the Monthly Pre- 
ceptor, but, unfortunately, when I sent it, I forgot the title, 
so it won't be noticed. 

I do not forsake the flowery paths of poesy, for that is my 
chief delight; I read the best poets. Mr. Coldham has got 
Johnson's complete set, with their lives ; these, of course, 
I read. 

With a little drudgery, I read Italian — Have got some good 
Italian works, as Pastor Eido, &c. &c. I taught myself, and 
have got a grammar. 

I must now beg leave to return you my sincere thanks for 
your kind present. I like " La Bruyere the Less" very much; 
I have read the original La Bruyere ; I think him like Rocke- 
foucault. Madame de Genlis is a very able woman. 

But I must now attempt to excuse my neglect in not 
writing to you. Eirst, I have been very busy with these 
essays and poems for the Monthly Preceptor. Second, I was 
rather angry at your last letter — I can bear anything but a 
sneer, and it was one continued grin from beginning to end, as 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 47 

were all the notices you made of me in my mother's letters, 
and I could not, nor can I now, brook it. I could say much 
more, but it is very late, and must beg leave to wish you good 
night. 

T am, dear brother, 

Your affectionate friend, 

H. K. White. 

P.S. You may expect a regular correspondence from me in 
future, but no sneers ; and shall be very obliged by a long 
letter. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 25th June, 1800. 

Dear, Neville, 

***** 

You are inclined to flatter me when you compare my appli- 
cation with yours; in truth, I am not half so assiduous as you, 
and I am conscious I waste a deal of time unwittingly. But, 
in reading, I am upon the continual search for improvement : 
I thirst after knowledge, and though my disposition is natu- 
rally idle, I conquer it when reading an useful book. The 
plan which I pursued, in order to subdue my disinclination to 
dry books, was this, to begin attentively to peruse it, and 
continue thus one hour every day: the book insensibly, by 
this means, becomes pleasing to you ; and even when reading 
Blackstone's Commentaries, which are very dry, I lay down 
the book with regret. 

With regard to the Monthly Preceptor, I certainly shall be 
agreeable to your taking it in, as my only objection was the 
extreme impatience which I feel to see whether my essays 
have been successful ; but this may be obviated by your speedy 
perusal, and not neglecting to forward it. But you must have 
the goodness not to begin till August, as my bookseller cannot 
stop it this month. 

I had a ticket given me to the boxes, on Monday night, for 
the benefit of Campbell, from Drury-lane, and there was such 



4S LETTERS OP 

a riot as never was experienced here before. He is a democrat, 
and the soldiers planned a riot in conjunction with the mob. 
We heard the shouting of the rabble in the street before the 
play was over : the moment the curtain dropt, an officer went 
into the front box, and gave the word of command: imme- 
diately about sixty troopers started up, and six trumpeters in 
the pit played " God save the King." The noise was astonish- 
ing. The officers in the boxes then drew their swords, and 
at another signal the privates in the pit drew their bludgeons, 
which they had hitherto concealed, and attacked all indis- 
criminately that had not an uniform : the officers did the same 
with their swords, and the house was one continued scene of 
confusion : one pistol was fired, and the ladies were fainting 
in the lobby. The outer doors were shut, to keep out the 
mob, and the people jumped on the stage as a last resource. 
One of these noble officers, seeing one man stand in the pit 
with his hat on, jumped over the division and cut him with his 
sword, which the man instantly wrenched from him and broke, 
whilst the officer sneaked back in disgrace. They then formed 
a troop, and having emptied the playhouse, they scoured the 
streets with their swords, and returned home victorious. The 
players are, in consequence, dismissed, and we have informa- 
tions in our office against the officers. 

* * * * 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, Michaelmas-day 1800. 
Deau Neville, 

I cannot divine what, in an epistolary correspondence, 
can have such charms (with people who write only common- 
place occurrences) as to attach a man from his usual affairs, 
and make him waste time and paper on what cannot be of the 
least real benefit to his correspondent. Amongst relatives, 
certainly there is always an incitement, we always feel an 
anxiety for their welfare. But I have no friend so dear to 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 49 

ice, as to cause me to take the trouble of reading his letters, 
if they only contained an account of his health, and the mere 
nothings of the day ; indeed, such an one would he unworthjfc^ 
of friendship. What then is requisite to make one's corre- 
spondence valuable ? I answer, sound sense. — Nothing more 
is requisite ; as to the style, one may very readily excuse its 
faults, if repaid by the sentiments. You have better natural 
abilities than many youth, but it is with regret I see that you 
will not give yourself the trouble of writing a good letter. 
There is hardly any species of composition (in my opinion) 
easier than the epistolary; but, my friend, you never found 
any art, however trivial, that did not require some application 
at first. Eor, if an artist, instead of endeavouring to surmount 
the difiiculties which presented themselves, were to rest con- 
tented with mediocrity, how could he possibly ever arrive at 
excellence ? Thus 'tis with you ; instead of that indefatigable 
perseverance which, in other cases, is a leading trait in your 
character, I hear you say, "Ah, my poor brains were never 
formed for letter-writing — I shall never write a good letter/' 
or some such phrases ; and thus, by despairing of ever arriving 
at excellence, you render yourself hardly tolerable. You may, 
perhaps, think this art beneath your notice, or unworthy of 
your pains; if so, you are assuredly mistaken, for there is 
hardly anything which would contribute more to the advance- 
ment of a young man, or which is more engaging. 

You read, I believe, a good deal ; nothing could be more 
acceptable to me, or more improving to you, than making a 
part of your letters to consist of your sentiments, and opinion 
of the books you peruse ; you have no idea how beneficial this 
would be to yourself; and that you are able to do it, I am 
certain. One of the greatest impediments to good writing, is 
the thinking too much before you note down. This, I think, 
you are not entirely free from. I hope, that by always writing 
the first idea that presents itself, you will soon conquer it ; my 
letters are always the rough first draft ; of course there are 
many alterations ; these you will excuse. 

I have written most of my letters to you in so negligent a 

£ 



50 LETTERS OF 

manner, that, if you would have the goodness to return all 
you have preserved sealed, I will peruse them, and all sen- 
tences worth preserving I will extract, and return. 

You observe, in your last, that your letters are read with 
contempt. — Do you speak as you think ? 

You had better write again to Mr. . Between friends 

the common forms of the world, in writing letter for letter, 
need not be observed ; but never write three without receiving 
one in return, because in that case they must be thought 
unworthy of answer. 

We have been so busy lately, I could not answer yours 
sooner. — Once a month suppose we write to each other. If 
you ever find that my correspondence is not worth the trouble 
of carrying on, inform me of it, and it shall cease. 
* * * * 

P.S. If any expression in this be too harsh, excuse it. — 1 
am not in an ill humour, recollect. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 11th April, 1801. 
Deah Neville, 

On opening yours, I was highly pleased to find two and a 
half sheets of paper, and nothing could exceed my ioy at so 
apparently long a letter ; but, upon finding it consisted of sides 
filled after the rate of five words in a line, and nine lines in a 
page, I could not conceal my chagrin ; and I am sure I may 
very modestly say, that one of my ordinary pages contains 
three of yours ; if you knew half the pleasure I feel in your 
correspondence, I am confident you would lengthen your 
letters. You tantalize me with the hopes of a prolific harvest, 
and I find alas ! a thin crop, whose goodness only makes me 
lament its scantiness. 

* * * * 

I had almost forgot to tell you that I have obtained the first 
prize (of a pair of Adams's twelve-inch globes, value three 
guineas) in the first class of the Monthly Preceptor. The 



HENRY KIRKS WHITS. 51 

subject wa? an imaginary tour from London to Edinburgh. It* 
is printed consequently, and I shall send it to you the very first 
opportunity. The proposals stated that the essay was not to 
exceed three pages when printed — mine takes seven; therefore 
I am astonished they gave me the first prize. There was an 
extraordinary number of candidates, and they said they never 
had a greater number of excellent ones, and they wished they 
could have given thirty prizes. You will find it (in a letter) 

addressed to N , meaning yourself. 

* * * * 

Warton is a poet from whom I have derived the most exqui- 
site pleasure and gratification. He abounds in sublimity and 
loftiness of thought as well as expression. His Pleasures of 
Melancholy is truly a sublime poem. The following passage I 
particularly admire : — 

" Nor nndelightful in the solemn noon 

Of night, where, haply wakeful from my couch 

I start, lo, all is motionless around! 

Roars not the rushing wind ; the sons of men, 

And every beast, in mute oblivion lie; 

All Nature's hush'd in silence, and in sleep. 

Oh, then, how fearful is it to reflect, 

That through the still globe's awful solitude 

No being wakes but me !" 

How affecting are the latter lines ! it is impossible to with- 
stand the emotions which rise on its perusal, and I envy not 
that man his insensibility who can read them with apathy. 
Many of the pieces of the Bible are written in this sublime 
manner: one psalm, I think the 18th, is a perfect masterpiece, 
and has been imitated by many poets. Compare these, or the 
above quoted from Warton, and the finest piece in Pope, and 
then judge of the rank which he holds as a poet. Another 
instance of the sublime in poetry, I will give you from Aken- 
side's admirable Pleasures of Imagination, where, speaking of 
the Soul, he says, she 

" Rides on the volley'd lightning through the heav'ns, 

And yoked with whirlwinds, and the northern blast, 

Sweeps the long tract of day." 
i* 2 



52 LETTERS OF 

Many of these instances of sublimity will occur to you in 
Thomson. 

James begs leave to present you with Bloomfield's Farmer's 

Boy. Bloomfield has no grandeur or height ; he is a pastoral 

poet, and the simply sweet is what you are to expect from 

him; nevertheless, his descriptions are sometimes little inferior 

to Thomson. 

% ^ * * 

How pleased should I be, Neville, to have you with us at 
Nottingham ! Our fire-side would be delightful. — I should 
profit by your sentiments and experience, and you possibly 
might gain a little from my small bookish knowledge. But I 
am afraid that time will never come ; your time of apprentice- 
ship is nearly expired, and, in all appearance, the small residue 
that yet remains will be passed in hated London. When you 
are emancipated, you will have to mix in the bustle of the 
world, in all probability, also, far from home ; so that when 
we have just learnt how happy we might mutually make our- 
selves, we find scarcely a shadow of a probability of ever 
having the opportunity. Well, well, it is in vain to resist the 
immutable decrees of fate. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, April, 1801. 
Deah Neville, 

As I know you will participate with me in the pleasure I 
receive from literary distinctions, I hasten to inform you, that 
my poetical Essay on Gratitude is printed in this month's Pre- 
ceptor — that my Remarks on Warton are promised insertion in 
the next month's Mirror, and that my Essay on Truth is 
printed in the present (April) Monthly Visitor. The Pre- 
ceptor I shall not be able to send you until the end of this 
month. The Visitor you will herewith receive. The next 
month's Mirror I shall consequently buy. I wish it were 
not quite so expensive, as I think it a very good work. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 53 

Benjamin Thomson, Capel Lofft, Esq., Robert Bloomfield, 
Thomas Dermody, Mr. Gilchrist, nnder the signature of 
Octavius, Mrs. Blore, a noted female writer, under the signa- 
ture of Q.Z., are correspondents ; and the editors are not only 
men of genius and taste, but of the greatest respectability. 
As I shall now be a regular contributor to this work, and as I 
think it contains much good matter, I have half an inclination 
to take it in, more especially as you have got the prior 
volumes ; but in the present state of my finances, it will not be 
prudent, unless you accede to a proposal which, I think, will be 
gratifying to yourself. It is to take it in conjunction with me, 
by which means we shall both have the same enjoyment of it, 
with half the expense. It is of little consequence who takes 
them, only he must be expeditious in reading them. If you 
have any the least objection to this scheme, do not suppress it 
through any regard to punctilio, I have only proposed it, and 
it is not very material whether you concur or not ; only exer- 
cise your own discretion. 

You say, (speaking of a passage concerning you in my last,) 
" this is compliment sufficient ; the rest must be flattery." — 
Do you seriously, Neville, think me capable of flattery ? 

As you well know I am a carping, critical little dog, you 
will not be surprised at my observing that there is one figure 
in your last that savours rather of the ludicrous, when you talk 
of a " butterfly hopping from book to book." 

As to the something that I am to find out, that is a perpetual 
bar to your progress in knowledge, &c, I am inclined to think, 
Doctor, it is merely conceit. You fancy that you cannot write 
a letter — you dread its idea ; you conceive that a work of four 
volumes would require the labours of a life to read through ; 
you persuade yourself that you cannot retain what you read, 
and in despair do not attempt to conquer these visionary 
impediments. Confidence, Neville, in one's own abilities, is a 
sure forerunner (in similar circumstances with the present) of 
success. As an illustration of this, I beg leave to adduce the 
example of Pope, who had so high a sense, in his youth, or 
rather in his infancy, of his own capacity, that there was 



04 LETTERS OF 

nothing of which, when once set abont it, he did not think 
himself capable; and, as Dr. Johnson has observed, the natural 
consequence of this minute perception of his own powers, was 
Ins arriving at as high a pitch of perfection as it was possible 
for a man, with Ins few natural endowments, to attain. 
* * * * 

"When you wish to read Johnson's Lives of the Poets, send 
for them : I have lately purchased them. I have now a large 
library. My mother allows me ten pounds per annum for 
clothes. I always dress in a respectable, and even in a genteel 
manner, yet I can make much less than this sum suffice. My 
father generally gives me one coat in a year, and I make two 
serve. I then receive one guinea per annum for keeping my 
mother's books; one guinea per annum pocket money; and by 
other means I gain, perhaps, two guineas more per annum : so 
that I have been able to buy pretty many; and when you 
come home, you will find me in my study, surrounded with 
books and papers. I am a perfect garreteer : great part of my 
library, however, consists of professional books. Have you 
read Burke on the Sublime ? Knox's Winter Evening ? — Can 
lend them to you, if you have not. 

Really, Neville, were you fully sensible how much my time 
is occupied, principally about my profession, as a primary con- 
cern, and in the horns necessarily set apart to relaxation on 
polite literature, to which, as a hobby-horse, I am very desirous 
of paying some attention, you would not be angry at my delay 
in writing, or my short letters. It is always with joy that I 
devote a leisure hour to you, as it affords you gratification ; 
and rest assured, that I always participate in your pleasure, 
and poignantly feel every adverse incident which causes you 
pain. 

Permit me, however, again to observe, that one of my sheets 
is equal to two of yours ; and I cannot but consider this as a 
kind of fallacious deception, for you always think that your 
letters contain so much more than mine, because they occupy 
more room. If you were to count the words, the difference 
would not be so great. You must also take in account the 
unsealed communications to periodical works, which I now 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 55 

reckon a part of my letter, and therefore yon mnst excnse my 
concluding, on the first sheet, by assuring you that I still 
remain 

Your friend and brother, 

H. K. White. 

P.S. A postscript is a natural appendage to a letter. — I 
only have to say, that positively you shall receive a six or 
eight sheet letter, and that written legibly, ere long. 



TO ME. BOOTH. 

Nottingham, August 12th, 1801. 
Dear Sir, 

I must beg leave to apologize for not having returned my 
sincere acknowledgments to yourself and Mrs. Booth, for your 
very acceptable presents, at an earlier period. I now, how- 
ever, acquit myself of the duty, and assure you, that from both 
of the works I have received much gratification, and edifica- 
tion, but more particularly from one on the Trinity,* a pro- 
duction which displays much erudition, and a very laudable 
zeal for the true interests of religion. Religious polemics, 
indeed, have seldom formed a part of my studies; though, 
whenever I happened accidentally to turn my thoughts to the 
subject of the Protestant doctrine of the Godhead, and com- 
pared it with Arian and Socinian, many doubts interfered, and 
1 even began to think that the more nicely the subject was 
investigated, the more perplexed it would appear, and was on 
the point of forming a resolution to go to heaven in my own 
way, without meddling or involving myself in the inextricable 
labyrinth of controversial dispute, when I received and perused 
this excellent treatise, which finally cleared up the mists which 
my ignorance had conjured around me, and clearly pointed out 
the real truth. The intention of the author precluded the pos- 
sibility of his employing the ornaments and graces of composi- 
tion in his work ; for as it was meant for all ranks, it must be 

* Jones on the Trinity. 



56 LETTERS OF 

suited to all capacities ; but the arguments are drawn up and 
arranged in so forcible and perspicuous a manner, and are 
written so plainly, yet pleasingly, that I was absolutely charmed 
with them. 

The Evangelical Clergyman is a very smart piece ; the 
author possesses a considerable portion of sarcastic spirit, and 
no little acrhnony, perhaps not consistent with the christian 
meekness which he wishes to inculcate. I consider, however, 
that London would not have many graces, or attractions, if 
despoiled of all the amusements to which, in one part of his 
pamphlet, he objects. In theory, the destruction of these 
vicious recreations is very fine ; but in practice, I am afraid 
he would find it quite different. * * * The other 
parts of this piece are very just, and such as every person 
must subscribe to. Clergymen, in general, are not what they 

ought to be; and I think Mr. has pointed out their 

duties very accurately. But I am afraid I shall be deemed 
impertinent and tiresome, in troubling you with ill-timed and 
obtrusive opinions, and beg leave, therefore, to conclude, with 
respects to yourself and Mrs. Booth, by assuring you that I 
am, according to custom from time immemorial, and in due 
form, 

Dear Sir, 
Your obliged humble Servant, 

Henry Kirke White. 



TO MR. CHARLESWORTH. 

Nottingham, 1802. 

Dear Sir, 

I am sure you will excuse me for not having immediately 
answered your letter, when I relate the cause. — I was prepar- 
ing, at that moment when I received yours, a volume of poems 
for the press, which I shall shortly see published. I finished 
and sent them off for London last night ; and I now hasten 
to acknowledge your letter. 

I am very happy that any poem of mine should meet with 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 57 

your approbation. I prefer the cool and dispassionate praise 
of the discriminate few, to the boisterous applause of the 
crowd. 

Our professions neither of them leave much leisure for the 
study of polite literature ; I myself have, however, coined 
time, if you will allow the metaphor ; and while I have made 
such a proficiency in the law, as has ensured me the regard of 
my governors, I have paid my secret devoirs to the ladies of 
Helicon. My draughts at the "fountain Arethuse," it is true, 
have been principally made at the hour of midnight, when even 
the guardian nymphs of the well may be supposed to have 
slept ; they are, consequently, stolen and forced. I do not see 
anything in the confinement of our situations, in the meantime, 
which should separate congenial minds. A literary acquaint- 
ance is, to me, always valuable ; and a friend, whether lettered 
or unlettered, is highly worth cultivation. I hope we shall 
both of us have enough leisure to keep up an intimacy, which 
began very agreeably for me, and has been suffered to decay 
with regret. 

I am not able to do justice to your unfortunate friend Gill , 
I knew him only superficially, and yet I saw enough of his 
unassuming modesty, and simplicity of manners, to feel a con- 
viction that he had a valuable heart. The verses on the other 
side are perhaps beneath mediocrity ; they are, sincerely, the 
work of thirty minutes this morning, and I send them to you 
with all their imperfections on their head. 

Perhaps they will have sufficient merit for the Nottingham 
paper ; at least their locality will shield them a little in that 
situation, and give them an interest they do not otherwise 
possess. 

Do you think calling the Naiads of the fountains " Nymphs 
of Paeon" is an allowable liberty ? The allusion is to their 
healthy and bracing qualities. 

The last line of the seventh stanza contains an apparent 
pleonasm, to say no worse of it, and yet it was not written as 
such. The idea was from the shriek of Death (personified), 
and the scream of the dying man. 

* * # * 



dS lettees of 



ELEGY 



Occasioned by the Death of Mr. Gill, who was drowned in the 
river Trent, while bathing, 9th August, 1802. 



He sunk — th' impetuous river roll'd along, 
The sullen wave betray' d his dying breath;* 

And rising sad the rustling sedge among, 

The gale of evening touch' d the cords of death. 

ii. 
Nymph of the Trent ! why didst not thou appear 

To snatch the victim from thy felon wave ? 
Alas ! too late thou cam'st to embalm his bier, 

And deck with water-flags his early grave. 

in. 
Triumphant, riding o'er its tumid prey, 

Rolls the red stream in sanguinary pride ; 
"While anxious crowds, in vain, expectant stay, 

And ask the swoln corse from the murdering tide. 

IV. 

The stealing tear-drop stagnates in the eye, 
The sudden sigh by friendship's bosom proved, 

I mark them rise — I mark the gen'ral sigh : 
Unhappy youth ! and wert thou so beloved ? 

v. 

On thee, as lone I trace the Trent's green brink, 
When the dim twilight slumbers on the glade ; 

On thee my thoughts shall dwell, nor Eancy shrink 
To hold mysterious converse with thy shade. 

*This line may appear somewhat obscure. It alludes to the last 
bubbling of the water, after a person has sunk, caused by the final 
expiration of the air from the lungs ; inbalation, by introducing tbe 
water, produces suffocation. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 59 

VI, 

Of thee, as early I, with vagrant feet, 

Hail the grey-sandal' d morn in Colwick's vale, 

Of thee my sylvan reed shall warble sweet, 
And wild wood echoes shall repeat the tale. 



And oh ! ye nymphs of Pseon ! who preside 
O'er running rill and salutary stream, 

Guard ye in future well the Halcyon tide 
From the rude Death-shriek and the dying scream. 



TO ME. M. HARRIS. 

Nottingham, 28th March, 1802. 
Dear Sir, 

I was greatly surprised at your letter of the twenty- 
seventh, for I had in reality given you up for lost. I should 
long since have written to you, in answer to your note about 
the Lexicon, but was perfectly ignorant of the place of your 
abode. Eor anything I knew to the contrary, you might have 
been quaffing the juice of the cocoa-nut under the broad 
bananes of the Indies, breathing the invigorathig air of liberty 
in the broad savannahs of America, or sweltering beneath the 
line. I had, however, even then some sort of a presentiment 
that you were not quite so far removed from our foggy atmo- 
sphere, but not enough to prevent me from being astonished 
at finding you so near us as Leicester. You tell me I must 
not ask you what you are doing; I am nevertheless very 
anxious to know ; not so much, I flatter myself, from any in- 
quisitiveness of spirit, as from a desire to hear of your welfare. 
Why, my friend, did you leave us ? possessing as you did, if 
not exactly the otium cum dignitate, something very like it ; 
having every comfort and enjoyment at your call, which the 
philosophical mind can find pleasure in ; and above all, blessed 
with that easy competence, that sweet independence, which 



60 LETTERS OF 

renders the fatigues of employment supportable, and even 
agreeable. 

Quod satis est, cui contingit, nihil amjplius optet. 

Certainly, to a man of your disposition, no situation could 
have more charms than yours at the Trent Bridge. I regard 
those hours which I spent with you there, while the moon- 
beam was trembling on the waters, and the harp of Eolus was 
giving us its divine swells and dying falls, as the most sweetly 
tranquil of my life. 

I have applied myself rather more to Latin than to Greek 
since you left us. I make use of Schrevelius's Lexicon, but 
shall be obliged to you to buy me the Parkhurst, at any 
decent price, if possible. Can you tell me any mode of 
joining the letters in writing in the Greek character ; I find 
it difficult enough. The following is my manner; is it right ?* 

I can hardly flatter myself that you will give yourself the 
trouble of corresponding with me, as all the advantage would 
be on my side, without anything to compensate for it on 
yours ; but — but in fact I do not know what to say further, — 
only, that whenever you shall think me worthy of a letter, I 
shall be highly gratified. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 10th February, 1803. 
Dear, Neville, 

* * * * 

Now with regard to the subscription, I shall certainly 
agree to this mode of publication, and I am very much obliged 
to you for what you say regarding it. But we must wait 
(except among your private friends) until we get Lady Derby's 

* The few Greek words which followed were beautifully written. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. ?>\ 

answer, and Proposals are printed. I think we shall readily 
raise 350, though Nottingham is the worst place imaginable 
for any thing of that kind. Even envy will interfere. I shall 
send proposals to Chesterfield, to my uncle ; to Sheffield, to 
Miss Gales's (booksellers), whom I saw at Chesterfield, and 

who have lately sent me a pressing invitation to S , 

accompanied with a desire of Montgomery (the Poet Paul 
Positive), to see me; to Newark — Allen and Wright, my 
friends there (the latter a bookseller); and I think if they 
were stitched up with all the Monthly Mirrors, it would 
promote the subscription. You are not to take any money ; 
that would be absolute begging: the subscribers put down 
their names, and pay the bookseller of whom they get the 
copy. 

% * * % 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 10th March, 1803. 
Dear Neville, 

I am cured of patronage hunting ; I will not expose my- 
self to any more similar mortifications, but shall thank you to 
send the manuscripts to Mr. Hill, with a note, stating that I 
had written to the Duchess, and receiving no answer, you had 
called, and been informed by a servant, that in all probability 
she never read the letter, as she desired to know what the 
booh was left there for ; that you had, in consequence, come 
away with the manuscripts, under a conviction that your 
brother would give her Grace no further trouble. State also 
that you have received a letter from me, expressing a desire 
that the publication might be proceeded on, without any 
further solicitation or delay. 

A name of eminence was, nevertheless, a most desirable 
thing to me in Nottingham, as it would attach more respect- 
ability to the subscription ; but I see all further efforts will 
only be productive of procrastination. 



62 LETTERS OP 

I think yon may as well begin to obtain subscribers amongst 
friends now, though the proposals may not be issued at 
present. 

I have got twenty-three, without making the affair public 
ai all, among my immediate acquaintance : and mind, I neither 
solicit nor draw the conversation to the subject, but a rumour 
has got abroad, and has been received more favourably than I 
expected. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 2nd May, 1803. 
Dear Neville, 

I have just gained a piece of intelligence which much 
vexes me. Robinson, the bookseller, knows that I have 
written to the Duchess of Devonshire, and he took the liberty 

(certainly an unwarrantable one) to mention it to ? 

whose was inscribed to her Grace. Mr. said, 

that unless I had got a friend to deliver the poems, per- 
sonally, into the hands of her Grace, it was a hundred to one 
that they ever reached her; that the porter at the lodge burrs 
scores of letters and packets a day, and particularly all letters 
by the twopemiy post are consigned to the fire. The rest, if 
they are not particularly excepted, as inscribed with a pass 
name on the back, are thrown into a closet, to be reclaimed 
at leisure. He said, the way he proceeded was this : — He left 
his card at her door, and the next day called, and was ad- 
mitted. Her Grace then gave him permission, with this pro- 
viso, that the dedication was as short as possible, and con- 
tained no compliments, as the Duke had taken offence at some 
such compliments. 

Now, as my letter was delivered by you at the door, I have 
scarcely a doubt that it is classed with the penny-post letters, 
and burnt. If my manuscripts are destroyed I am ruined, but 
I hope it is otherwise. However, I think you had better call 
immediately, and ask for a parcel of Mr. H. White, of Not 



HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 63 

tingham. They will, of course, say they have no such parcel ; 
and then, perhaps, you may have an opportunity of asking 
whether a packet, left in the manner you left mine, had any 
probability of reaching the Duchess. If you obtain no satis- 
faction, there remains no way of re -obtaining my volume but 
this (and I fear you will never agree to put it in execution) : 
to leave a card, with your name inscribed (Mr. J. N. White), 
and call the next day. If you are admitted, you will state to 
her Grace the purport of your errand, ask for a volume of 
poems in manuscript, sent by your brother a fortnight ago, 
with a letter (say from Nottingham, as a reason why I do not 
wait on her), requesting permission of dedication to her ; and 
that as you found her Grace had not received them, you had 
taken the liberty, after many inquiries at her door, to request 
to see her in person. 

I hope your diffidence will not be put to this test ; I hope 
yon will get the poems without trouble; as for begging 
patronage, I am tired to the soul of it, and shall give it up. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 1803. 

Dear Neville, 

I write you, with intelligence of a very important nature. 
You some time ago had an intimation of my wish to enter the 
church, in case my deafness was not removed. About a week 

ago I became acquainted with the Rev. , late of St. 

John's College, Cambridge, and in consequence of what he has 
said, I have finally determined to enter myself of Trinity Col- 
lege, Cambridge, with the approbation of all my friends. 

Mr. says that it is a shame to keep me away from 

the University, and that circumstances are of no importance. 
He says, that if I am entered of Trinity, where there are all 
select men, I must necessarily, with my abilities, arrive at 
preferment. He says he will be answerable that the first year 
I shall obtain a Scholarship, or an exhibition adequate to my 



64 LETTEES OF 

support. That by the time I have been of five years' standing, 
I shall of course become a Fellow, (200Z. a year) ; that with 
the Fellowship, I may hold a Professorship, (oOOl. per annum); 
and a living or curacy until better preferments occur. He 
says, that there is no uncertainty in the church to a truly 
pious man, and a man of abilities and eloquence. That those 
who are unprovided for, are generally men who, having no 
interest, are idle drones, or dissolute debauchees, and therefore 
ought not to expect advancement. That a poet, in particular, 
has the means of patronage in his pen ; and that, in one word, 
no young man can enter the church (except he be of family) 
with better prospects than myself. On the other hand, Mr. 
Enfield has himself often observed, that my deafness will be 
an insuperable obstacle to me as an attorney, and has said how 
unfortunate a thing it was for me not to have known of the 
growing defect in my organs of hearing, before I articled my- 
self. Under these circumstances, I conceive I should be 
culpable did I let go so good an opportunity as now occurs. 

Mr. will write to all his University friends, and he 

says there is so much liberality there, that they will never let a 
young man of talents be turned from his studies by want of cash. 

Yesterday I spoke to Mr. Enfield, and he, with unexampled 
generosity, said that he saw clearly what an advantageous 
thing it would be for me ; that I must be sensible what a great 
loss he and Mr. Coldham would suffer ; but that he was cer- 
tain neither he, nor Mr. C , could oppose themselves 

to anything which was so much to my advantage. When Mr. 

C returns from London, the matter will be settled with 

my mother. 

All my mother's friends seem to think this an excellent 
thing for me, and will do all in their power to forward me. 

Now we come to a very important part of the business — 
the means. I shall go with my friend Robert, in the capacity 
of Sizar, to whom the expense is not more than 60Z. per 
annum. Towards this sum my mother will contribute 20£, 
being what she allows me now for clothes ; (by this means she 
will save my board) ; and, for the residue, I must trust to 
getting a Scholarship, or Chapel Clerk's post. But, in order to 



HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 65 

make this residue certain, I shall, at the expiration of twelre 
months, publish a second volume of poems by subscription. 

* * * * 

My friend, Mr. , says, that so far as his means will 

go, I shall never ask assistance in vain. He has but a 
small income, though of gred; family. He has just lost two 

rectories by scruples of conscience, and now preaches at 

for 80£. a year. The following letter he put into my hand as 
I was leaving him, after having breakfasted with him yes- 
terday. He put it into my hand, and requested me not to 
read it until I got home. It is a breach of trust letting you 
see it, but I wish you to know his character. 
" My dear Sir, 

" I sincerely wish I had it in my power to render you any 
essential service, to facilitate your passing through College : 
believe me, I have the will, but not the means. Should the 
enclosed be of any service, either to purchase books, or for 
other pocket expenses, I request your acceptance of it ; but 
must entreat you not to notice it, either to myself, or any 
living creature. I pray God that you may employ those talents 
that he has given you, to his glory, and to the benefit of his 
people. I have great fears for you ; the temptations of Col- 
lege are great. Believe me 

" Very sincerely yours, 

* * * 

'The enclosure was 21. 2s. I could not refuse what was so 
delicately offered, though I was sorry to take it : he is truly 
an amiable character. 

* * * * 



TO HIS BROTHEK NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, 1803. 

Dear Neville, 

You may conceive with what emotions I read your bro- 
therly letter ; I feel a very great degree of aversion to bur- 
thening my family any more than I have done, and now do ; 
but an offer so delicate and affectionate I cannot refuse ; and if 
F 



65 LETTERS OP 

I should need pecuniary assistance, which I am in hopes I 
shall not, at least after the first year, I shall, without a 
moment's hesitation, apply to my brother Neville. 

My College schemes yet remain in a considerable degree of 
uncertainty ; I am very uneasy thereabouts. I have not heard 
from Cambridge yet, and it is very doubtful whether there be 
a vacant Sizarship hi Trinity ; so that I can write you no 
further information on this head. 

* * ¥ * 

I suppose you have seen my review in this month's Minor, 
and that I need not comment upon it ; such a review I neither 
expected, nor in fact deserve. 

I shall not send up the Mirror this month, on this account, 
as it is policy to keep it ; and you have, no doubt, received 
one from Mr. Hill. 

The errors in the Greek quotation I perceived the moment 
I got down the first copies, and altered them, in most, with 
the pen ; they are very unlucky ; I have sent up the copies 
for the reviews myself, in order that I might make the correc- 
tion in them. 

I have got now to write letters to all the Reviewers, and 
hope you will excuse my abrupt conclusion of this letter on 
that score. 

I am, dear Neville, 

Affectionately yours, 

H. K. White. 

I shall write to Mr. Hill now the first thing ; I owe much 
to him. 



TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 

Nottingham, . 

My dear Ben, 

* * * *■ 

And now, my dear Ben, I must confess your letter gave 

me much pain ; there is a tone of despondence in it which I 

must condemn, inasmuch as it is occasioned by circumstances 

which do not involve your own exertions, but which are utterly 



HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 67 

independent of yourself : if you do your duty, why lament that 
it is not predicctive? In whatever situation we maybe placed, 
there is a duty we owe to God and religion; it is resigna- 
tion; — nay, I may say contentment. All things are in the 
hands of God ; and shall we mortals (if we do not absolutely 
repine at his dispensations) be fretful under them ? I do be- 
seech you, my dear Ben, summon up the Christian witliin you, 
and, steeled with holy fortitude, go on your way rejoicing ! 
There is a species of morbid sensibility to which I myself have 
often been a victim, which preys upon my heart, and, without 
giving birth to one actively useful or benevolent feeling, does 
but brood on selfish sorrows, and magnify its own misfortunes. 
The evils of such a sensibility, I pray to God you may never 
feel, but I would have you beware, for it grows on persons of 
a certain disposition before they are aware of it. 

I am sorry my letter gave you pain, and I trust my sus- 
picions were without foundation. Time, my dear Ben, is the 
discoverer of hearts, and I feel a sweet confidence that he will 
knit ours yet more closely together. 

I believe my lot in life is nearly fixed ; a month will tell me 
whether I am to be a minister of Christ, in the established 
church, or out. One of the two I am now finally resolved, if it 
please God, to be. I know my own unworthiness ; I feel deeply 
that I am far from being that pure and undented temple of the 
Holy Ghost, that a minister of the word of life ought to be ; 
yet still I have an unaccountable hope that the Lord wiB 
sanctify my efforts, that he will purify me, and that I shall 
become his devoted servant. 

I am at present under afflictions and contentions of spirit, 
heavier than I have yet ever experienced. I think at times, I am 
mad, and destitute of religion. My pride is not yet subdued ; 
the unfavourable review (in the Monthly) of my unhappy 
work, has cut deeper than you could have thought; not in 
a literary point of view, but as it affects my respectability. 
It represents me actually as a beggar, going about gathering 
money to put myself at college, when my book is worthless ; 
and this with every appearance of candour. They have been 
sadly misinformed respecting me : this review goes before me 
p 2 



68 LETTERS OF 

wherever I turn my steps ; it haunts me incessantly, and I am 
persuaded it is an instrument in the hands of Satan to drive me 
to distraction. I must leave Nottingham. If the answer of 
the Elland Society be unfavourable, I propose writing to the 
Marquis of Wellesley, to offer myself as a student at the 
academy he has instituted at Tort William, in Bengal, and, at 
the proper age, to take orders there. The missionaries at that 
place have done wonders already, and I should, I hope, be a 
valuable labourer in the vineyard. If the Marquis take no 
notice of my application, or do not accede to my proposal, I 
shall place myself in some other way of making a meet prepa- 
ration for the holy office, either in the Calvmistic Academy, or 
in one of the Scotch Universities, where I shall be able to live 
at scarcely any expense.* 



TO ME. E. A . 

Nottingham, 18th April, 1804. 
My deau Boeeut, 

I have just received your letter. Most fervently do I 
return thanks to God for this providential opening; it has 
breathed new animation into me, and my breast expands with 
the prospect of becoming the minister of Christ where I 
most desired it ; but where I almost feared all probability of 
success was nearly at an end. Indeed, I had begun to turn my 
thoughts to the dissenters, as people of whom I was destined, 
not by choice, but necessity, to become the pastor. Still, 
although I knew I should be happy anywhere, so that I were a 
profitable labourer in the vineyard, I did, by no means, feel that 
calm, that indescribable satisfaction which I do, when I look 
toward that church which I think, in the main, formed on 
the apostolic model, and from which I am decidedly of opinion 
there is no positive ground for dissent. I return thanks to 
God for keeping me so long in suspense, for I know it has 

* This letter was not seen by the editor till after the prefatory 
memoir was printed. — E. S. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 69 

been beneficial to my soul, and I feel a considerable trust that 
the way is now about to be made clear, and that my doubts 
and fears on this head will, in due time, be removed. 

Could I be admitted at St. John's, I conclude, from what 
I have heard, that my provision would be adequate ; not 
otherwise. Erom my mother I could depend on 15 1, or 20 1. 
a year, if she live, toward college expenses, and I could spend 
the long vacation at home. The 20£. per annum from my 
brother would suffice for clothes, &c, so that if I could pro- 
cure 20?. a year more, as you seem to think I may, by the 
kindness of Mr. Martyn, I conceive I might, with economy, be 
supported at college; of this, however, you are the best judge. 

You may conceive how much I feel obliged by Mr. Martyn 
on this head, as well as to you, for your unwearying exertions. 
Truly, friends have risen up to me in quarters where I could 
not have expected them, and they have been raised, as it were, 
by the finger of God. I have reason, above all men, to be 
grateful to the Father of all mercies for his loving kindness 
towards me ; surely no one can have had more experience of 
the fatherly concern with which God watches over, protects, 
and succours his chosen seed, than I have had ; and surely none 
could have less expected such a manifestation of his grace, and 
none could have less merited its continuance. 

In pursuance of your injunction, I shall lay aside Grotius, 
and take up Cicero and Livy, or Tacitus. In Greek, I must 
rest contented for the ensuing fourteen days with the Testa- 
ment ; I shall then have conquered the Gospels, and, if things 
go on smoothly, the Acts. I shall then read Homer, and 
perhaps Plato's Phsedon, which I lately picked up at a stall. 
My classical knowledge is very superficial ; it has very little 
depth or solidity; but I have really so small a portion of 
leisure, that I wonder at the progress I do make. I believe I 
must copy the old divines, in rising at four o'clock ; for my 
evenings are so much taken up with visiting the sick, and with 
young men who come for religious conversation, that there is 
but little time for study. 

* * * # 



70 LETTERS OF 

TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 

Nottingham, 24th April, 1804. 
My dear Ben, 

Truly I am grieved, that whenever I undertake to be 
the messenger of glad tidings, I should frustrate my own 
design, and communicate to my good intelligence a taint of 
sadness, as it were by contagion. Most joyfully did I sit 
down to write my last, as I knew I had wherewith to admi- 
nister comfort to you ; and yet, after all, I find that by gloomy 
anticipations, I have converted my balsam into bitterness, and 
have by no means imparted that unmixed pleasure which I 
wished to do. 

Forebodings and dismal calculations are, I am convinced, 
very useless, and I think very pernicious speculations — "Suffi- 
cient for the day is the evil thereof." And yet how apt are 
we, when imminent trials molest us, to increase the burthen 
by melancholy ruminations on future evils ! — evils which exist 
only in our own imaginations — and which, should they be 
realized, will certainly arrive in time to oppress us sufficiently, 
without our adding to their existence by previous apprehen- 
sion, and thus voluntarily incurring the penalty of misfortunes 
yet in prospective, and trials yet unborn. Let us guard then, 
I beseech you, against these ungrateful divinations into the 
womb of futurity — we know our affairs are in the hands of 
one who has wisdom to do for us beyond our narrow prudence, 
and we cannot, by taking thought, avoid any afflictive dispen- 
sation which God's providence may have in store for us. Let 
us therefore enjoy with thankfulness the present sunshine 
without adverting to the coming storm. Tew and transitory 
are the intervals of calm and settled day with which we are 
cheered in the tempestuous voyage of life ; we ought there- 
fore, to enjoy them, while they last, with unmixed delight, and 
not turn the blessing into a curse, by lamenting that it cannot 
endure without interruption. We, my beloved friend, are 
united in our affections by no common bands — bands which I 
trust are too strong to be easily dissevered — yet we know not 
what God may intend with respect to us, nor have we any 
business to inquire — we should rely on the mercy of our 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 71 

Eather, who is in heaven — and if we are to anticipate, we 
should hope the best. I stand self-accused therefore for my 
prurient, and I may say, irreligious fears. A prudent fore- 
sight, as it may guard us from many impending dangers, is 
laudable; but a morbid propensity to seize and brood over 
future ills, is agonizing, while it is utterly useless, and, there- 
fore, ought to be repressed. 

I have received intelligence, since writing the above, which 

nearly settles my future destination. A informs me that 

Mr. Martyn, a fellow of St. John's, has about 20£. a-year 
to dispose of, towards keeping a religious man at college, and 
he seems convinced that, if my mother allows me 20Z. a year 
more, I may live at St. Johns, provided I could gain admit- 
tance, which, at that college, is difficult, unless you have 
previously stood in the list for a year. Mr. Martyn thinks, if 
I propose myself immediately, I shall get upon the foundation, 
and by this day's post I have transmitted testimonials of my 
classical acquirements. In a few days, therefore, I hope to 
hear that I am on the boards of St. John's. 

Mr. Dashwood has informed me, that he also has received 
a letter from a gentleman, a magistrate near Cambridge, offer- 
ing me all the assistance in his power towards getting through 
college, so as there be no obligation. My way, therefore, is 
now pretty clear. 

I have just risen from my knees, returning thanks to our 
heavenly Eather for this providential opening — my heart is 
quite full. Help me to be grateful to him, and pray that I 
may be a faithful minister of his word. 

* m * * 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE 

Nottingham. 
My dear Neville, 

I sit down with unfeigned pleasure to write, in com- 
pliance with your request, that I would explain to you the real 
doctrines of the church of England, or what is the same thing, 
of the Bible. The subject is most important, inasmuch as it 



72 LETTEES OF 

affects that part of man which is incorruptible, and which must 
exist for ever — his soul. When God made the brute creation, 
he merely embodied the dust of the earth, and gave it the 
power of locomotion, or of moving about, and of existing in a 
certain sphere. In order to afford mute animals a rule of 
action, by which they might be kept alive, he implanted in 
them certain instincts, from which they can never depart. 
Such is that of self-preservation, and the selection of proper 
food. But he not only endued man with these powers, but he 
gave him mind, or spirit — a faculty which enables him to 
ruminate on the objects which he does not see — to compare 
impressions — to invent — and to feel pleasure and pain, when 
their causes are either gone or past, or lie in the future. This 
is what constitutes the human soul. It is an immaterial 
essence — no one knows what it consists of, or where it resides ; 
the brain and the heart are the organs which it most seems to 
affect ; but it would be absurd to infer therefrom, that the 
material organs of the heart and the brain constitute the soul, 
seeing that the impressions of the mind sometimes affect one 
organ and sometimes the other. Thus, when any of the pas- 
sions — love, hope, fear, pleasure, or pain, are excited, we feel 
them at our heart. When we discuss a topic of cool reason- 
ing, the process is carried on in the brain ; yet both parts are 
in a greater or less degree acted upon on all occasions, and we 
may therefore conclude, that the soul resides in neither indi- 
vidually, but is an immaterial spirit, which occasionally im- 
presses the one, and occasionally the other. That the soul is 
immaterial, has been proved to a mathematical demonstration. 
"When we strike, we lift up our arm — when we walk, we pro- 
trude our legs alternately — but when we think, we move no 
organ : the reason depends on no action of matter, but seems 
as it were to hover over us, to regulate the machine of our 
bodies, and to meditate and speculate on things abstract as 
well as simple, extraneous as well as connected with our indi- 
vidual welfare, without having any bond which can unite it 
with our gross corporeal bodies. The flesh is like the tem- 
porary tabernacle which the soul inhabits, governs, and regu- 
lates ; but as it does not consist in any organization of matter 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 73 

our bodies may die, and return to the dust from whence they 
were taken, while our souls, incorporeal essences — are incapable 
of death and amiihilation. The spirit is that portion of God's 
own immortal nature, which he breathed into our clay at our 
birth, and which therefore cannot be destroyed, but will con- 
tinue to exist when its earthly habitation is mingled with its 
parent dust. We must admit therefore, what all ages and 
nations, savage as well as civilized, have acknowledged, that 
we have souls, and that as they are incorporeal, they do not 
die with our bodies, but are necessarily immortal. The ques 
tion then naturally arises, what becomes of them after death ? 
Here man of his own wisdom must stop : — but God has thought 
fit, in his mercy, to reveal to us in a great measure the secret 
of our natures, and in the Holy Scriptures we find a plain and 
intelligible account of the purposes of our existence, and the 
things we have to expect in the world to come. And here I 
shall just remark, that the authenticity and divine inspiration 
of Moses are established beyond a doubt, and that no learned 
man can possibly deny their authority. Over all nations, even 
among the savages of America, cut out as it were from the 
eastern world, there are traditions extant of the flood, of Noah, 
Moses, and other patriarchs, by names which come so near the 
proper ones, as to remove all doubt of their identity. You 
know mankind is continually increasing in number ; and con- 
sequently, if you make a calculation backwards, the numbers 
must continue lessening, and lessening, until you come to a 
point where there was only one man. Well, according to the 
most probable calculation, this point will be found to be about 
5,800 years back, viz., the time of the creation, making allow- 
ance for the flood. Moreover, there are appearances upon the 
surface of the globe, which denote the manner in which it was 
founded, and the process thus developed will be found to agree 
very exactly with the figurative account of Moses. — (Of this I 
shall treat in a subsequent letter.) — Admitting then, that the 
books of the Pentateuch were written by divine inspiration, 
we see laid before us the whole history of our race, and, includ • 
ing the Prophets, and the New Testament, the whole scheme 
of our future existence : we learn, in the first place, that God 



7± LETTERS OF 

created man in a state of perfect happiness, that he was placed 
in the midst of everything that could delight the eye or fasci- 
nate the mind, and that he had only one command imposed 
npon him, which he was to keep under the penalty of death. 
This command God has been pleased to cover to our eyes with 
impenetrable obscurity. Moses, in the figurative language of 
the East, calls it eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of 
Good and Evil. But this we can understand, that man 
rebelled against the command of his Maker, and plunged him- 
self by that crime, from a state of bliss to a state of sorrow, 
and in the end, of death. — By death here is meant, the exclu- 
sion of the soul from future happiness. It followed, that if 
Adam fell from bliss, his posterity must fall, for the fruit must 
be like the parent stock ; and a man made as it were dead, 
mnst likewise bring forth children under the same curse. — 
Evil cannot beget good. 

But the benign Eather of the universe had pity npon 
Adam and his posterity, and knowing the frailty of our nature, 
he did not wish to assume the whole terrors of his just ven- 
geance. Still, God is a being who is infinitely just, as well as 
infinitely merciful, and therefore his decrees are not to be. 
dispensed with, and his offended justice must have expiation. 
The case of mankind was deplorable;— myriads yet unborn 
were implicated by the crime of their common progenitor in 
general ruin. But the mercy of God prevailed, .and Jesus 
Christ, the Messias, of whom all ages talked before he came 
down amongst men, offered himself up as an atonement for 
man's crimes. The Son of God himself, infinite in mercy, 
offered to take up the human form, to undergo the severest 
pains of human life, and the severest pangs of death ; he offered 
to lie under the power of the grave for a certain period, and, 
in a word, to sustain all the punishment of our primitive dis- 
obedience in the stead of man. The atonement was infinite, 
because God's justice is infinite; and nothing but such an 
atonement could have saved the fallen race. 

The death of Christ then takes away the stain of original 
sin, and gives man at least the poweu of attaining eternal 
bliss. Still, our salvation is conditional, and we have certain 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 70 

requisitions to comply with ere we can be secure of heaven. 
The next question then is, What are the conditions on which 
we are to be saved ? The word of God here comes in again 
in elucidation of our duty ; the chief point insisted upon is, 
that we should keep God's Law contained in the Ten Com- 
mandments ; but as the omission or breach of one article of 
the twelve tables is a crime just of as great magnitude as the 
original sin, and entails the penalty on us as much as if we had 
infringed the whole ; God, seeing our frailty, provided a means 
of effecting our salvation, in which nothing should be required 
of us but reliance on his truth. God sent the Saviour to bear 
the weight of our sins ; he, therefore, requires us to believe 
implicitly, that through his blood we shall be accepted. This 
is the succedaneum which he imposed in lieu of the observance 
of the moral law. Faith ! Believe, and ye shall be saved. — 
He requires from us to throw ourselves upon the Redeemer, 
to look for acceptance through him alone, to regard ourselves 
as depraved, debased, fallen creatures, who can do nothing 
worthy in his sight, and who only hope for mercy through the 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Faith is the foundation stone : 
Faith is the superstructure ; Faith is all in all. — " By Faith are 
ye saved ; by Faith are ye justified." 

How easy, my dear Neville, are the conditions God imposes 
upon us ! He only commands us to feel the tie of common 
gratitude, to trust in the mediation of his Son, and all shall be 
forgiven us. And shall our pride, our deluded imaginations, 
our false philosophy, interfere to blind our eyes to the beauties 
of so benevolent, so benign a system ! — Or shall earthly plea- 
sures engross all our thoughts, nor leave space for a care for 
our souls ! — God forbid. As for Faith, if our hearts are hard- 
ened, and we cannot feel that implicit, that fervent belief, 
which the scripture requires, let us pray to God that he will 
send his Holy Spirit down upon us, that he will enlighten our 
understanding with the knowledge of that Truth which is too 
vast, too sublime for human understandings, unassisted by 
Divine Grace, to comprehend. 

1 have here drawn a hasty outline of the gospel plan of 
salvation. In a future letter I shall endeavour to fill it up. At 



76 LETTERS OF 

present I sliall only say, think on these things ! — They are of 
moment inconceivable. Head yonr bible, in order to confirm 
yourself in these sublime truths, and pray to God to sanctify 
to you the instructions it contains. At present I would turn 
your attention exclusively to the Xew Testament. Bead also 
the book which accompanies this letter ; — it is by the great 
Locke, and will serve to show you what so illustrious a philo- 
sopher thought of revelation. 



TO MR. R. A . 

Nottingham, May 7th, 1804. 
Dear Robert, 

You don't know how I long to hear how your decla- 
mation was received, and f all about it,' as we say in these 
parts. I hope to see it, when I see its author and pronouncer. 
Themistocles, no doubt, received due praise from you for his 
valour and subtlety ; but I trust you poured down a torrent 
of eloquent indignation upon the rilling principles of his ac- 
tions, and the motive of his conduct ; while you exalted the 
mild and unassuming virtues of his more amiable rival. The 
object of Themistocles was the aggrandisement of himself, that 
of Aristides the welfare and prosperity of the state. The one 
endeavoured to swell the glory of his country ; the other to 
promote its security, external and internal, foreign and do- 
mestic. "While you estimated the services which Themistocles 
rendered to the state, in opposition to those of Aristides, you 
of course remembered that the former had the largest scope 
for action, and that he infiuenced his countrymen to fall into 
all his plans, while they banished his competitor, not by his 
superior wisdom or goodness, but by those intrigues and fac- 
tious artifices which Aristides would have disdained. Themis- 
tocles certainly did use bad means to a desirable end : and if 
we may assume it as an axiom, that Providence will forward 
the designs of a good sooner than those of a bad man, what- 
ever inequality of abilities there may be between the two 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. i i 

characters, it will follow that — had Athens remained under 
the guidance of Aristides, it would have been better for her. 
The difference between Theroistocles and Aristides seems to me 
to be this : that the former was a wise and a fortunate man, 
and that the latter, though he had equal wisdom, had not equal 
good fortune. We may admire the heroic qualities and the 
crafty policy of the one; but to the temperate and disin- 
terested patriotism, the good and virtuous dispositions of the 
other, we can alone give the meed of heartfelt praise. 

I only mean by this, that we must not infer Themistocles to 
have been the better or the greater man, because he rendered 
more essential services to the state than Aristides, nor even that 
his system was the most judicious, — but only, that by decision 
of character and by good fortune, his measures succeeded best. 
% * * * 

The rules of composition are, in my opinion, very few. If 
we have a mature acquaintance with our subject, there is little 
fear of our expressing it as we ought, provided we have had 
some little experience in writing. The first thing to be aimed 
at is perspicuity. That is the great point which, once at- 
tained, will make all other obstacles smooth to us. In order 
to write perspicuously, we should have a perfect knowledge of 
the topic on which we are about to treat in all its bearings 
and dependencies. We should think well beforehand, what 
will be the clearest method of conveying the drift of our 
design. This is similar to what painters call the massing, or 
getting the effect of the more prominent lights and shades by 
broad dashes of the pencil. When our thesis is well arranged 
in our mind, and we have predisposed our arguments, reason- 
ings, and illustrations, so as they shall all conduce to the 
object in view, in regular sequence and gradation, we may sit 
down and express our ideas in as clear a manner as we can, 
always using such words as are most suited to our purpose ; and 
when two modes of expression, equally luminous, present them- 
selves, selecting that which is the most harmonious and elegant. 

It sometimes happens that writers, in arming at perspicuity, 
overreach themselves by employing too many words, and 
perplex the mind by a multiplicity of illustrations. This is a 



78 LETTERS OF 

very fatal error. Cncumlocution seldom conduces to plain- 
ness ; and you may take it as a maxim, that when once an 
idea is clearly expressed, every additional stroke will only 
confuse the mind and diminish the effect. 

When you have once learned to express yourself with clear- 
ness and propriety, you will soon arrive at elegance. Every- 
thing else, in fact, will follow as of course. But I warn you 
not to invert the order of things, and be paying your addresses 
to the Graces, when you ought to be studying perspicuity. 
Young writers, in general, are too solicitous to round off their 
periods and regulate the cadences of their style. Hence the 
feeble pleonasms and idle repetitions which deform their pages. 
If you would have your compositions vigorous and masculine 
in their tone, let every word tell; and when you detect 
yourself polishing off a sentence with expletives, regard your- 
self in exactly the same predicament with a poet who should 
eke out the measure of his verses with " titum, titum, tee, Sir." 

So much for style 



TO MR. E. A . 

Nottingham, 9th May, 1804. 
My dear 1'riexd, 

% * $ * 

I have not spoken as yet to Messrs. Coldham and Enfield. 
Your injunction to suspend so doing has left me in a state of 
mind, which, I think, I am blame able for indulging, but which 
is indescribably painful. I had no sleep last night, partly from 
anxiety, and partly from. the effects of a low fever, which has 
preyed on my nerves for the last six or seven days. I am 
afraid, Robert-, my religion is very superficial. I ought not 
to feel this distrust of God's providence. Should I now be 
prevented from going to College, I shall regard it as a just 
punishment for my want of faith. 

I conclude Mr. Martyn has failed in procuring the aid he 
expected. Is it so ? 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 79 

On these contingencies, Robert, yon mnst know from my 
peculiar situation I shall never be able to get to College. My 
mother, at all times averse, has lately been pressed by one of 
the deacons of Castlegate Meeting, to prevail on me to go to 
Dr. Williams. This idea now fills her head, and she would 
feel no small degree of pleasure in the failure of my resources 
for College. Besides this, her natural anxiety for my welfare 
will never allow her to permit me to go to the University 
depending almost entirely on herself, knowing not only the 
inadequacy, but the great uncertainty, of her aid. Coldham 
and Enfield must likewise be satisfied that my way is clear : I 
tremble, I almost despair. A variety of contending emotions, 
which I cannot particularize, agitate my mind. I tremble lest 
I should have mistaken my call : these are solemn warnings : 
but no — I cannot entertain the thought. To the ministry I am 
devoted, I believe, by God ; in what way must be left to his 
providence. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, June, 1804. 
Dear Neville, 

In answer to your question, whether the Sizars have any 
duties to perform, I answer no.. Somebody, perhaps, has been 
hinting that there are servile offices to be performed by Sizars. 
It is a common opinion, but perfectly erroneous. The Oxford 
Servitors, I believe, have many unpleasant duties; but the 
Sizars at Cambridge only differ from the rest in name. 
* ^ * * 



TO MB. B. MADDOCK. 

Nottingham, June 15th, 1804. 
My dear Ben, 

I do not sit down to write yon a long letter, for I have 
been too much exhausted with mathematics to have much 
vigour of mind left ; my lines will therefore be wider than they 



80 LETTEBS OF 

are wont to be, and I shall, for once, be obliged to diffuse a 
b'ttle matter over a broad surface. Eor a consolatory letter I 
trust you have little need, as by this time you have no doubt 
learned to meet with calmness, those temporary privations and 
inconveniences which, in this life, we must expect, and there- 
fore should be prepared to encounter. 

* * * * 

This is true — this is Christian philosophy : it is a philo- 
sophy in which we must all, sooner or later, be instituted, and 
which, if you steadfastly persist in seeking, I am sure God will 
assist you to your manifest comfort and peace. 

There are sorrows, and there are misfortunes, which bow 
down the spirit beyond the aid of all human comfort. Of 
these, I know, my dear Ben, you have had more than common 
experience; but while the cup of life does overflow with 
draughts of such extreme asperity, we ought to fortify our- 
selves against lesser evils, as unimportant to man, who has 
much heavier woes to expect, and to the Christian, whose joys 
are laid beyond the verge of mortal existence. There are 
afflictions, there are privations, where death, and hopes irre- 
coverably blasted, leave no prospect of retrieval; when I 
would no more say to the mourner, " Man, wherefore weepest 
thou?" than I would ask the winds why they blew, or the 
tempest why it raged. Sorrows like these are sacred : but the 
inferior troubles of partial separation, vexatious occupation, 
and opposing current of human affairs, are such as ought not, 
at least immoderately, to affect a Christian ; but rather ought 
to be contemplated as the necessary accidents of life, and 
disregarded while their pains are most sensibly felt. 

Do not think, I beseech you, my dear Ben, that I wish to 
represent your sorrows as light or trivial ; I know they are not 
light ; I know they are not trivial : but I wish to induce you 
to sum up the man within you, and while those unhappy 
troubles, which you cannot alleviate, must continue to torment 
you, I would exhort you to rise superior to the crosses of life, 
and show yourself a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ, in the 
endurance of evil without repining, or unavailable lamentations. 

Blest as you are with the good testimony of an approving 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 81 

conscience, and happy in an intimate commnnion with the 
all-pure and all-merciful God, these trifling concerns ought 
not to molest yon; nay, were the tide of adversity to turn 
strong against yon, even were your friends to forsake you, and 
abject poverty to stare you in the face, you ought to be abun- 
dantly thankful to God for his mercies to you ; you ought to 
consider yourself still as rich ; yea, to look around you, and 
say, I am far happier than the sons of men. 

This is a system of philosophy which, for myself, I shall not 
only preach, but practise. We are here for nobler purposes 
than to waste the fleeting moments of our lives in lamenta- 
tions and wailings over troubles which, in their widest extent, 
do but affect the present state, and which, perhaps, only regard 
our personal ease and prosperity. Make me an outcast — a 
beggar; place me a bare-footed pilgrim on the top of the 
Alps or the Pyrenees, and I should have wherewithal to sustain 
the spirit within me, in the reflection that all this was but as 
for a moment, and that a period would come, when wrong, and 
injury, and trouble should be no more. Are we to be so 
utterly enslaved by habit and association, that we shall spend 
our lives in anxiety and bitter care, only that we may find a 
covering for our bodies, or the means of assuaging hunger ? 
for what else is an anxiety after the world ? Or are even the 
followers of Christ themselves to be infected with the insane, 
the childish desire of heaping together wealth ? Were a man, 
in the way of making a large fortune, to take up his hat and stick, 
and say, " I am useless here, and unhappy ; I will go and abide 
with the Gentoo or the Paraguay, where I shall be happy and 
useful," he would be laughed at ; but I say he would prove 
himself a more reasonable and virtuous man, than him who 
binds himself down to a business which he dislikes, because it 
would be accounted strange, or foolish, to abandon so good a 
concern, and who heaps up wealth, for which he has little relish, 
because the world accounts it policy. 

I will refrain from pursuing this tone of reasoning ; I know 
the weakness of human nature, and I know that we may argue 
with a deal of force, to show the folly of grief, when we our- 
selves are its passive victims. But whether strength of mind 

G 



82 LETTERS OF 

prevail with you, or whether you still indulge in melancholy 
bodings and repinings, I am still your friend, nay, your sympa- 
thizing friend. Hard and callous and " unfeeling" as I may 
seem, I have a heart for my ever dear Benjamin. 

Hexet Kirke White. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Wilford, near Nottingham, 1804. 

Deah Neville, 

I now write to you from a little cottage at Wilford, where 
I have taken a room for a fortnight, as well for the benefit of 
my health, as for the advantage of uninterrupted study. I 
live in a homely house, in a homely style, but am well occu- 
pied, and perfectly at my ease. 

And now, my dear brother, I must sincerely beg pardon for 
all those manifold neglects, of which I cannot but accuse myself 
towards you. When I recollect innumerable requests in your 
letters which I have not noticed, and many inquiries I have 
not satisfied, I almost feel afraid that you will imagine I no 
longer regard your letters with brotherly fondness, and that 
you will cease to exercise towards me your wonted confidence 
and friendship. Indeed, you may take my word, they have 
arisen from my peculiar circumstances, and not from any 
unconcern or disregard of your wishes. I am now bringing 
my affairs (laugh not at the word) into some regularity, after 
all the hurry and confusion in which they have been plunged, 
by the distraction of mind attending my publication, and the 
projected change of my destination in life. 

* * * * 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Wilford, near Nottingham, 1804. 

Dear Neville, 

* * * * 

I have run very much on the wrong side of the post here ; 
for having sent copies round to such persons as had given me 



HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 83 

in their names as subscribers, with compliments, they have 
placed them to the account of presents ! 

* * * * 

And now, my dear Neville, I must give you the most inge- 
nious specimen of the invention of petty envy you perhaps 
ever heard of. When Addison produced "Cato," it was 
currently received, that he had bought it of a vicar for 40 £. 
The Nottingham gentry, knowing me too poor to buy my poems, 
thought they could do no better than place it to the account 
of family affection, and lo ! Mrs. Smith is become the sole 
author, who has made use of her brother's name as a feint ! 1 
heard of this report first covertly; it was said that Mrs. Smith 
was the principal writer : next it was said that I was the 
author of one of the inferior smaller pieces only, (" My Study ;") 
and lastly, on mentioning the circumstances to Mr. A — — , he 
confessed that he had heard several times that " my sister was 
the sole quill-driver of the family, and that Master Henry, in 
particular, was rather shallow," but that he had refrained from 
telling me, because he thought it would vex me. Now as to 
the vexing me, it only has afforded me a hearty laugh. I sent 
my compliments to one great lady, whom I heard propagating 
this ridiculous report, and congratulated her on her ingenuity, 
telling her, as a great secret, that neither my sister or myself 
had any claim to any of the Poems, for the right author was 
the Great Mogul's cousin german. The best part of the story 
is, that my good friend, Benjamin Maddock, found means to 
get me to write verses extempore, to prove whether I could 
tag rhymes or not, which, it seems, he doubted. 



TO ME. B. MADDOCK. 

Nottingham, 7th July, 1804. 
My deab, Ben, 

* * * -# 

The real wants of life are few ; the support of the body, 
simply, is no expensive matter ; and as we are not mad upon 
silk and satins, the covering of it will not be more costly. 
The only superfluity I should covet would be books \ but I 

G 2 



84 LETTERS OF 

have learned how to abridge that pleasure ; and having sold 
the flower of rny library for the amazing sum of six guineas, I 
mean to try whether meditation will not supply the place of 
general reading, and probably, by the time I am poor and 
needy, I shall look upon a large library like a fashionable 
wardrobe, goodly and pleasant, but as to the real utility, 
indifferent. 

So much for Stoicism, and now for Monachism — I shall 
never, never marry ! It cannot, must not be. As to affec- 
tions, mine are already engaged as much as they will ever be, 
and this is one reason why I believe my life will be a life oi 
celibacy. I pray to God that it may be so, and that I may be 
happy in that state. I love too ardently to make love inno- 
cent, and therefore I say farewell to it. Besides, I have 
another inducement, I cannot introduce a woman into poverty 
for my love's sake, nor could I well bear to see such a one as 
I must marry struggling with narrow circumstances, and 
sighing for the fortunes of her children. — No, I say, forbear ! 
and may the example of St. Gregory of Naz and St. Basil 
support me. 

All friends are well, except your humble scribe, who has got 
a little too much into his old way since your departure. 
Studying, and musing, and dreaming of everything but his 
health ; still amid all his studyings, musings, and dreams, 
Your true friend and brother, 

H. K. White. 



TO THE EDITOK. 

Nottingham, July 9th, 1804. 

^f ^ vp yfc 

I can noiv inform you, that I have reason to believe my 
way through college is clear before me. Erom what source 
I know not ; but through the hands of Mr. Simeon I am pro- 
vided with 2>0l. per annum; and while things go on so 
prosperously as they do now, I can command 20/. or 301. 
more from my friends, and tins, in all probability, until I take 
my degree. The friends to whom I allude are my mother 
and brother. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 85 

My mother lias, for these five years past, kept a boarding 
school in Nottingham ; and, so long as her school continues in 
its present state, she can supply me with 15 1, or 20£. per an- 
num, without inconvenience; but should she die (and her 
health is, I fear, but infirm), that resource will altogether fail. 
Still, I think, my prospect is so good as to preclude any 
anxiety on my part ; and perhaps my income will be more 
than adequate to my wants, as I shall be a Sizar ol St. John's, 
where the college emoluments are more than commonly large. 

In this situation of my affairs you will perhaps agree with 
me in thinking, that a subscription for a volume of poems will 
not be necessary ; and, certainly, that measure is one which 
will be better avoided, if it may be. I have lately looked over 
what poems I have by me in manuscript, and find them more 
numerous than I expected ; but many of them would perhaps 
be styled mopish, and mawkish, and even misanthropic, in 
the language of the world ; though from the latter sentiment, 
I am sure I can say, no one is more opposite than I am. 
These poems, therefore, will never see the light, as, from a 
teacher of that word which gives all strength to the feeble, 
more fortitude and Christian philosophy may, with justice, be 
expected than they display. The remainder of my verses 
would not possess any great interest : mere description is 
often mere nonsense : and I have acquired a strange habit, 
whenever I do point out a train of moral sentiment from the 
contemplation of a picture, to give it a gloomy and querulous 
cast, when there is nothing in the occasion but what ought to 
inspire joy and gratitude. I have one poem,* however, of 
some length, which I shall preserve ; and I have another of 
considerable magnitude in design, but of which only a part is 
written, which I am fairly at a loss whether to commit to the 
flames, or at some future opportunity to finish. The subject 
is the Death ot Christ. I have no friend whose opinion is at 
all to be relied on to whom I could submit it ; and perhaps, 
after all, it may be absolutely worthless. 

With regard to that part of my provision which is derived 

* Time is probably the poem alluded to. 



86 LETTERS OF 

from my unknown friend, it is of course conditional ; and as 
it is not a provision for a, poet, but for a candidate for orders, 
I believe it is expected, and indeed it has been hinted as a 
thing advisable, that I should barter the Muses for mathe- 
matics, and abstain from writing verses at least until I take 
my degree. If I find that all my time will be requisite, in 
order to prepare for the important office I am destined to fill, 
I shall certainly do my duty, however severely it may cost 
me ; but if I find I may lawfully and conscientiously relax 
myself at intervals with those delightful reveries which have 
hitherto formed the chief pleasure of my life, I shall, without 
scruple, indulge myself in them. 

I know the pursuit of truth is a much more important 
business than the exercise of the imagination ; and amid all 
the quaintness and stiff method of the mathematicians, I can 
even discover a source of chaste and exalted pleasure. To their 
severe but salutary discipline, I must now " subdue the vivid 
shapings of my youth;" and though I shall cast many a fond 
lingering look to Fancy's more alluring paths, yet I shall be 
repaid by the anticipation of days when I may enjoy the sweet 
satisfaction of being useful, in no ordinary degree, to my 
fellow-mortals. 



Deae, ir, 



TO ME. SERJEANT ROUGH. 

Nottingham, 24th July, 1804. 



"tift *K ^ft $fc 

I think Mr, Moore's love poems are infamous, because they 
subvert the first great object of poetry, — the encouragement 
of the virtuous and the noble ; and metamorphose nutritious 
aliment into poison. It hink the Muses are degraded when 
they are made the handmaids of sensuality, and the bawds of 
a brothel. 

Perhaps it may be the opinion of a young man, but I think, 
too, the old system of heroic attachment, with all its attendant 
notions of honour and spotlessness, was, in the end, calculated 



HENHY KIRKE WHITE. 87 

to promote the interests of the human race ; for though it 
produced a temporary alienation of mind, perhaps bordering 
on insanity, yet with the very extravagance and madness of 
the sentiments there were inwoven certain imperious prin- 
ciples of virtue and generosity, which would probably remain 
after time had evaporated the heat of passion, and sobered 
the luxuriance of a romantic imagination. I think, therefore, 
a man of song is rendering the commuiiity a service when he 
displays the ardour of manly affection in a pleasing light : 
but certainly we need no incentives to the irregular gratifica- 
tion of our appetites, and I should think it a proper punish- 
ment for the poet who holds forth the allurements of illicit 
pleasures in amiable and seductive colours, should his wife, 
his sister, or his child, fall a victim to the licentiousness he 
has been instrumental in diffusing. 



TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 

Winteringham, August 3rd, 1804. 
My deae, Ben, 

I am all anxiety to learn the issue of your proposal to 
your father. Surely it will proceed ; surely a plan laid out 
with such fair prospects of happiness to you, as well as me, 
will not be frustrated. Write to me the moment you have any 
information on the subject. 

I think we shall be happy together at Cambridge ; and in 
the ardent pursuit of Christian knowledge, and Christian 
virtue, we shall be doubly united. We were before friends ; 
now, I hope, likely to be still more emphatically so. But I 
must not anticipate. 

I left Nottingham without seeing my brother Neville, who 
arrived there two days after me. This is a circumstance 
which I much regret ; but I hope he will come this way, when 
he goes, according to his intention, to a watering place. 
Neville has been a good brother to me, and there are not 
many things which would give me more pleasure than, after 



88 LETTERS OF 

so long a separation, to see him again. I dare not hope that 
I shall meet you and him together, in October, at Nottingham. 

My days flow on here in an even tenour. They are, indeed, 
studious days, for my studies seem to multiply on my hands, 
and I am so much occupied by them that I am becoming a 
mere bo ok- worm running over the rules of Greek versification 
in my walks, instead of expatiating on the beauties of the 
surrounding scenery. Winteringham is, indeed, now a de- 
lightful place ; the trees are in full verdure, the crops are 
bronzing the fields, and my former walks are become dry under 
foot, winch I have never known them to be before. The 
opening vista, from our church-yard, over the Humber, to the 
lulls and receding vales of Yorkshire, assumes a thousand 
new aspects. I sometimes watch it at evening, when the sun 
is just gilding the summits of the hills, and the lowlands are 
beginning to take a browner hue. The showers partially 
falling in the distance, while all is serene above me ; the swell- 
ing sail rapidly falling down the river ; and, not least of all, 
the villages, woods, and villas on the opposite bank, sometimes 
render this scene quite enchanting to me; and it is no con- 
temptible relaxation, after a man has been puzzling his brains 
over the intricacies of Greek choruses all the day, to come out 
and unbend his mind with careless thought, and negligent 
fancies, while he refreshes his body with the fresh air of the 
country. 

I wish you to have a taste of these pleasures with me ; and 
if ever I should live to be blessed with a quiet parsonage, and 
that great object of my ambition, a garden, I have no doubt 
but we shall be, for some short intervals at least, two quiet 
contented bodies. These will be our relaxations ; our business 
will be of a nobler kind. Let us vigilantly fortify ourselves 
against the exigencies of the serious appointment we are, with 
God's blessing, to fulfil ; and if we go into the church pre- 
pared to do our duty, there is every reasonable prospect that 
our labours will be blessed, and that we shall be blessed in 
them. As your habits generally have been averse to what is 
called close application, it will be too much for your strength, 
as well as unadvisable in other points of view, to study very 



HENItY KIEKE WHITE. 89 

intensely ; bnt regularly yon may, and must read ; and depend 
upon it, a man will work more wonders by stated and constant 
application, than by unnatural and forced endeavours. 



TO ME. B. MADDOCK. 

Nottingham, September, 1804- 
My dear Be^, 

By the time you will open this letter, we shall have 
parted, God only knows whether ever to meet again. The 
chances and casualties of human life are such as to render it 
always questionable whether three months may not separate 
us for ever from an absent friend. 

* * * & 

Eor my part, I shall feel a vacuum when you are gone, 

which will not easily be filled up. I shall miss my only 

intimate friend — the companion of my walks — the interrupter 

of my evening studies. I shall return, in a great measure, 

to my old solitary habits. I cannot associate with , nor 

yet with ; has no place in my affections, though 

he has in my esteem. It was to you alone I looked as my 
adopted brother, and (although for reasons you may hereafter 
learn, I have not made you my perfect confidant) my com- 
forter. — Heu mihi Amice Yale, longum Yale ! I hope you 
will sometimes think of me, and give me a portion in your 
prayers. 

Perhaps it may be that I am not formed for friendship, that 
I expect more than can ever be found. Time will tutor me : 
I am a singular being, under a common outside. I am a pro- 
found dissembler of my inward feelings, and necessity has 
taught me the art. I am long before I can unbosom to a 
friend, yet I think I am sincere in my friendship : you must 
not attribute this to any suspiciousness of nature, but must 
consider that I lived seventeen years my own confidant, my 
own friend, full of projects and strange thoughts, and confiding 



90 LETTERS OF 

tliem to no one. I am habitually reserved, and habitually 
cautious in letting it be seen that I hide anything. Towards 
you I would fain conquer these habits, and this is one step 
towards effecting the conquest. 

T am not well, Ben, to-night, as my hand-writing and style 
will show ; I have rambled on, however, to some length ; my 
letter may serve to beguile a few moments on your way. I 
must say good bye to you, and may God bless you, and pre- 
serve you, and be your guide and director for ever. Remember 
he 'is always with you; remember that in him you have a 
comforter in every gloom. In your wakeful nights, when you 
have not me to talk to, his ear will be bent down to your 
pillow ; what better bosom friend has a man than the merciful 
and benignant Father of all ? Happy, thrice happy, are you 
in the privilege of his grace and acceptance. 

Dear Ben, 
I am your true friend, 

H. K. White. 



TO MR. K. SWANN. 

High Pavement, October 4th, 1804. 

Dear Kjrke, 

* * # * 

For your kind and very valuable present, I know not how 

to thank you. The Archbishop* has long been one of my 

most favourite divines; and a complete set of his sermons 

really "sets me up" I hope I am able to appreciate the 

merits of such a collection, and I shall always value them 

apart from their merit, as a memento of friendship. 

I hope that, when our correspondence begins, it will neither 
be lax nor uninteresting ; and that, on both sides, it may be 
productive of something more than mere amusement. 

While we each strive to become wiser in those things 
wherein true wisdom is alone to be found, we may mutually 
contribute to each other's success, by the communication of 

* Tillotson. 



HENRY KIKKE WHITE. 91 

our thoughts : and that we may both become proficients in 
that amiable philosophy which makes us happier by rendering 
us better ; that philosophy which alone makes us wise unto 
salvation, is the prayer of, 

Dear Kirke, 
Your sincere friend, 

Hexhy Kirke White. 



TO MR. JOHN CHARLESWORTH. 

Winteringham, 1804. 

* Amice Dilecte, 

Puderet me infrequentise nostrarum literarum, nisi hoc ex 
te pendere sentirem. Epistolas a te missas non prius accepi 
quam kalendis Decembris — res mihi acerba, nihilominus ad 
ferendum levior, dum me non tibi ex animo prorsus excidisse 
satis exploration est. 

Gasivus sum, e litteris tuis amico Roberto dicatis, cum 
audirem te operam et dedisse et daturum ad Grsecam linguam 
etiamnum excolendam cum viro omni doctrina erudito. — Satis 
scio te, illo duce, virum doctissimum et in optimarum artium 
studiis exquisitissimum futurum esse : haud tamen his facul- 
tatibus contentum, sed altiora petentem, nempe salutem 
humani generis et sancta verbi divini arcana. 

Yix jam, amice! recreor e morbo, a quo graviter eegrotavi: 
vix jam incipio membra languore confecta in diem apertam 
trahere. Tactus arida manu febris spatiosas trivi noctes 
lacrymis et gemitu. Yidi cum in conspectu mortis collocatus 
fuerim, vidi omnia clariora facta, intellexi me non fidem Christi 
satis servasse, non ut famulum Dei fideliter vitam egisse. 
jEgritudo multa prius celata patefacit. Hoc ipse sensi et 
omnes, sint sane religiosi sint boni, idem sentient. Sed ego 
prsecipue causam habui cur me amixerim et summisso animo 
ad pedem crucis abjecerim. Imo vero et lacrymas copiose 

* This letter is not to be considered as a specimen of Henry's 
Latinity. It was written when he was only beginning those classical 
studies in which he afterwards made such progress. 



02 LETTERS OF 

effudi et interclnm consolatio Sancti Spiritus turbinem animi 
placavit. Utinam vestigium liujus periculi semper iu animo 
retineam ! 

Non dubito quia tibi gratum erit audire de moribus et 
studiis nostris. Prseceptor nobis, nomine Grainger, non e 
collegio educatus fuit, attamen doctrina baud mediocris est, 
pietate eximius. Hypodidascalus fuit in schola viri istius 
docti et admodum venerandi Josephi Milner, qui eum dilexit 
atque honoravit. Mores jucundi et faciles sunt, urbanitate ac 
lepore suaviter conditi, quanquam interdmn in vultu tristis 
severitas inest. Erga bonos mansuetus, malis se durior gerit. — 
iEque fere est Pastor diligens, vir egregius, et prseceptor 
bonus. Ciun isthoc legimus apud Graecos, Homerum et De- 
mosthenem et San etas Scripturas, apud Latinos Yngilium, 
Ciceronem et aliquando in ludo Terentium. Scribimus etiam 
Latine, et constructions et elegantise gratia ; rdbilominus (hac 
epistola teste) non opus est dicendi tibi quam paululum ego 
ipse proficio. In scribendo Latine, praeter consuetudinem in 
lingua Anglicana, sum lentus, piger, ineptus. Yerba stillant 
beu quam otiose, et quum tandem visa sint quam inelegantia ! 
Spero tamen usu atque animo diligenter adhibendo deinde 
Latinis sermonibus aliquam adipisci facilitatem, nunc fere 
oportet me contentum esse cupire et laborare, paululum poti- 
undo, magna moliendo. 

Intelligis, procul dubio, nos vicum incolere TTintering- 
hamiensis, ripis situm Humberi numinis, sed nondum forsarj 
sentias locum esse agrestem, fluviis, collibus, arvis, omni 
decore pervenustum. Domus nostra Templo Dei adjacet ; a 
tergo sunt dulces borti et terrenas agger arboribus crebre 
septus, quo deambulare solemus. Cncumcirca sunt mrales 
pagi quibus seepe cum otium agamus, post pranclium imus. 
Est villa, nomine TVMttorda, ubi a celsa rupe videre potes 
tlunien Trentii vasto Humbero innuentem, et paulo altius 
Oosem numen. 

Infra sub opaca saxa fons est cui potestas inest in lapidem 
materias alienas convert endi ; ab altissima rupe labitur in litus, 
muschum, concbas et fragiliores, ramos arborum in lapidem 
transmutans. In prospectu domus montes Eboracenses 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 93 

surgunt trans Humberum siti, sylvis et villis stipati, nunc 
solis radiis ridentes, nnnc horridi ninibis ac procellis. Yela 
navium ventis impleta ante fenestras satis longo intervallo 
prolabuntur: dmn supra in aere procelso greges anserum 
vastse longo clamore volitant. Seepe in aninio revolvo verba 
ista Homeri : 

war opviSdJV TTsrerjvojv tOvta toWci 
~Kr)vwv rj yspavwv, ij kvkvwv, dovXixodtipoJi', 
'Acrt^ kv Xeifnovi Kavarpiov a\i§i pktQpct 
iv9a kcli ev6d ttotuvtcli ayaXXSfievoi irr^pvyeaai 
KXayyrjdbv irpoicaQiZovTUJv, afiapayn de re Xei[jlwv, 
Qq t&v eOvea woXXd viCov cltto kcil kXigiclwv 
'Eg 7rsdiov Trpox^ovro 'ZiccLfjiavdpiov, &c. 



Yale. Dum vitales auras carpam, 

Tuus, 



H. K. White. 



TO MR. K. SWANN. 

Winteringham, 20th Oct., 1804. 

Beau Kiuke, 

We are safely arrived, and comfortably settled, in the 
parsonage of Winteringham. The bouse is most delightfully 
situated close by the church, at a distance from the village, 
and with delightful gardens behind, and the Humber before. 
The family is very agreeable, and the style in which we live is 
very superior. Our tutor is not only a learned man, but the 
best pastor and most pleasing domestic man I ever met with. 
You will be glad to hear we are thus charmingly situated. I 
have reason to thank God for his goodness in leading me to 
so peaceful and happy a situation. 

The year which now lies before me, I shall, with the 
blessing of God, if I am spared, employ in very important 
pursuits ; and I trust that I shall come away not only a wiser 
but a better man. I have here nothing to interrupt me — no 
noise — no society to disturb, or avocations to call me off, and 
if I do not make considerable improvements, I do not know 
when I shall. 



94 LETTERS OF 

We have each our several duties to perform ; and though 
God has been pleased to place us in very different walks of 
life, yet we may mutually assist each other by counsel, by 
admonition, and by prayer. My calling is of a nature the most 
arduous and awful ; I need every assistance from above, and 
from my companions in the flesh ; and no advice will ever be 
esteemed lightly by me, which proceeds from a servant of God, 
however trifling, or however ill-expressed. If your immediate 
avocations be less momentous, and less connected with the 
world to come, your duty is not the less certain, or the more 
lightly to be attended to — you are placed in a situation 
wherein God expects from you according to your powers, as 
well as from me in mine : and there are various dark and occult 
temptations, of which you are little aware, but into which you 
may easily and imperceptibly fall, unless upheld by the arm of 
Almighty God. You stand in need, therefore, to exercise a 
constant reliance on the Holy Spirit, and its influences, and to 
watch narrowly your own heart, that it conceive no secret sin ; 
for although your situation be not so dangerous, nor your 
duties so difficult, yet, as the masks which Satan assumes are 
various, you may still And cause for spiritual fear and sorrow, 
and occasion for trembling, lest you should not have exercised 
your talents in proportion to their extent. It is a valuable 
observation, that there is no resting-place in the spiritual 
progress — we must either go backward or forward, and when 
we are at a loss to know whether our motion be onward or 
retrograde, we may rest assured, that there is something want- 
ing which must be supplied— some evil yet lurking in the 
heart, or some duty slightly performed. 

You remember I heard Mr. , on the night previous to 

my departure ; I did not say much on his manner, but I thought 
it neat, and the sermon far better than I expected : but I must 
not be understood to approve altogether of Mr. ■ — - s preach- 
ing. I think, in particular, he has one great fault, that is 
elegance — he is not sufficiently ^fom^. Remember, we do not 
mount the pulpit to say fine things, or eloquent things ; we 
have there to proclaim the good tidings of salvation to fallen 
man ; to point out the way of eternal life ; to exhort, to cheer, 



HENRY KIEKE WHITE. 95 

and to support the suffering sinner: these are the glorious 
topics upon which we have to enlarge — and will these permit 
the tricks of oratory, or the studied beauties of eloquence ? 
Shall truths and counsels like these be couched in terms which 
the poor and ignorant cannot comprehend ? — Let all eloquent 
preachers beware, lest they fill any man's ear with sounding 
words, when they should be feeding his soul with the bread of 
everlasting life ! Let them fear, lest, instead of honouring 
God, they honour themselves ! If any man ascend the pulpit 
with the intention of uttering a fine tiling, he is committing a 
deadly sin. Remember, however, that there is a medium, and 
that vulgarity and meanness are cautiously to be shunned; 
but while we speak with propriety and chastity, we cannot be 
too familiar or too plain. I do not intend to apply these 
remarks to Mr. individually, but to the manner of preach- 
ing here alluded to. If his manner be such as I have here 
described, the observations will also fit ; but, if it be otherwise, 
the remarks refer not to him, but to the style reprobated. 
* * * m 

I recommend to you, always before you begin to study, to 
pray to God to enlighten your understanding, and give you 
grace to behold all things through the medium of religion. 
This was always the practice in the old Universities, and, I 
believe, is the only way to profit by learning. 

I can now only say a few words to you, since our regular 
hour of retiring fast approaches. I hope you are making pro- 
gress in spiritual things, proportionably to your opportunities, 
and that you are sedulously endeavouring not only to secure 
your own acceptation, but to impart the fight of truth to those 
around you who still remain in darkness. 

Pray let me hear from you at your convenience, and my 
brother will forward the letter ; and believe me, 
My dear Kirke, 
Your friend, and fellow-traveller in the 

Tearful sojourn of life, 

H. K. White. 



9G LETTERS OF 



TO HIS MOTHER. 

WinteriDgham, Dec. 16th, 1804. 
My deae, Mother, 

Since I wrote to you last I have been rather ill, having 
caught cold, which brought on a slight fever. Thanks to excel- 
lent nursing, I am now pretty much recovered, and only want 
strength to be perfectly re-established. Mr. Grainger is him- 
self a very good physician, but when I grew worse, he deemed 
it necessary to send for a medical gentleman from Barton ; so 
that, in addition to my illness, I expect an apothecary's bill. 
This, however, will not be a very long one, as Mr. Grainger 
has chiefly supplied me with drugs. It is judged absolutely 
necessary that I should take wine, and that I should ride. It 
is with very great reluctance that I agree to incur these addi- 
tional expenses, and I shall endeavour to cut them off as soon 
as possible. Mr. and Mrs. Grainger have behaved like parents 
to me since I have been ill : four and five times in the night 
has Mr. G. come to see me ; and had I been at home, I could 
not have been treated with more tenderness and care. Mrs. 
Grainger has insisted on my drinking their wine, and was very 
angry when I made scruples ; but I cannot let them be at all 
this additional expense — in some way or other I must pay 
them, as the sum I now give, considering the mode in which 
we are accommodated, is very trifling. Mr. Grainger does not 
keep a horse, so that I shall be obliged to hire one ; but there 
will be no occasion for this for any length of time, as my 
strength seems to return as rapidly as it was rapidly reduced. 
Don't make yourself in the least uneasy about this, I pray, as 
I am quite recovered, and not at all apprehensive of any conse- 
quences. I have no cough, nor any symptom which might 
indicate an affection of the lungs. I read very little at present. 
I thought it necessary to write to you on this subject now, 
as I feared you might have an exaggerated account from Mr. 
Almond's friends, and alarm yourself. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 97 

TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Winteringliam, Dec. 27, 1804. 
My deah Brother, 

I have been very much distressed at the receipt of your 
letter, accompanied by one from my mother, one from my 
sister, and from Mr. Dashwood, and Kirke Swann, all on the 
same subject ; and, greatly as I feel for all the kindness and 
affection which has prompted these remonstrances, I am quite 
harassed with the idea that you should not have taken my 
letter as a plain account of my illness, without any wish to 
hide from you that I had been ill somewhat seriously, but that 
I was indeed better. 

I can now assure you, that I am perfectly recovered, and 
am as well as I have been for some time past. My sickness 
was merely a slight fever, rather of a nervous kind, brought 
on by a cold, and soon yielded to the proper treatment. I do 
assure you, simply and plainly, that I am now as well as ever. 
With regard to study, I do assure you that Mr. Grainger 
will not suffer us to study at all hard ; our work at present is 
mere play. I am always in bed at ten o'clock, and take two 
walks in the day, besides riding, when the weather will permit. 
Under these circumstances, my dear brother may set his 
mind perfectly at ease. Even change of air sometimes occa- 
sions violent attacks, but they leave the patient better than 
they found him. 

I still continue to drink wine, though I am convinced there 
s no necessity for it. My appetite is amazingly large — much 
larger than when at Nottingham. 

I shall come to an arrangement with Mr. Grainger imme- 
diately, and I hope you will not write to him about it. If Mr. 
Eddy, the surgeon, thinks it at all necessary for me to do this 
constantly, I declare to you that I will ; but remember, if I 
should form a habit of this now, it may be a disadvantage to 
me when possibly circumstances may render it inconvenient — 
as when I am at college. 

My spirits are completely knocked up by the receipt of all 
the letters I have at one moment received. My mother got a 

H 



98 LETTERS OP 

gentleman to mention it to Mr. Dashwood, and still repre- 
senting that my illness was occasioned by stndy — a thing than 
which nothing can be more remote from the truth, as I have, 
from conscientions motives, given np hard stndy until I shall 
find my health better. 

I cannot write more, as I have the other letters to answer. 
I am going to ride to Barton, expressly to get advantage of 
the post for this day, in order that yon may no longer give 
yourself a moment's uneasiness, where there is in reality no 
occasion. 

Give my affectionate love to James, and believe me, 
My dear Neville, 
Your truly affectionate brother, 

H. K. White. 

One thing I had forgotten — you mention my pecuniary 
matters — you make me blush when you do so. You may rest 
assured that I have no wants of that kind, nor am likely to 
have at present. Your brotherly love and anxiety towards me 
has sunk deep into my heart ; and you may satisfy yourself 
with this, that whatever is necessary for my health shall not 
be spared, and that when I want the means of procuring these, 
I shall think it my duty to tell you so. 



TO HTS BROTHER JAMES. 

Midway between Winteringham and Hull, 
Jan. 11th, 1805. 
Dear James, 

You will not be surprised at the style of this letter, when 
I tell you it is written in the Winteringham Packet, on a heap 
of flour bags, and surrounded by a drove of fourteen pigs, who 
raise the most hideous roar every time the boat rolls. I write 
with a silver pen, and with a good deal of shaking, so you 
may expect very bad scribbling. I am now going to Hull, 
where I have a parcel to send to my mother, and I would not 
lose the opportunity of writing. 

I am extremely glad that you are attentive to matters of 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 99 

such moment as are those of religion ; and I hope you do not 
relax in your seriousness, but continue to pray that God will 
enable you to walk in the paths of righteousness, which alone 
lead to peace. He alone, my dear James, is able to give you 
a heart to delight in his service, and to set at nought the 
temptations of the world. It may seem to you, in the first 
beginning of your Christian progress, that religion wears a very 
unpromising aspect, and that the gaieties of the world are 
indeed very delicious; but I assure you, from what I have 
myself experienced, that the pleasures of piety are infinitely 
more exquisite than those of fashion and of sensual pursuits. 
It is true, they are not so violent or so intoxicating (for they 
consist in one even tenour of mind, a lightness of heart, and 
sober cheerfulness, which none but those who have expe- 
rienced can conceive) ; but they leave no sting behind them ; 
they give pleasure on reflection, and will soothe the mind in 
the distant prospect. And who can say this of the world or 
its enjoyments? 

Even those who seem to enter with the most spirit into the 
riotous and gaudy diversions of the world, are often known to 
confess that there is no real satisfaction in them ; that their 
gaiety is often forced, when then hearts are heavy ; and that 
they envy those who have chosen the more humble but pleasant 
paths of religion and virtue. 

I am not at all particular as to the place of worship you 
may attend, so as it be under a serious preacher, and so as you 
attend regularly. I should think it a very good exercise for 
you, if you were to get a blank paper book, and were to write 
down in it anything which may strike you in the sermons you 
hear on a Sunday ; this would improve your style of writing, 
and teach you to think on what you hear. Pray endeavour to 
carry this plan into execution, I am sure you will find it worth 
the trouble. You attend the church now and then, I conclude, 
and if you do, I should wish to direct your attention to our 
admirable liturgy, and avoid, if possible, remarking what may 
seem absurd in the manner it is repeated. 

I must not conceal from you that I am very sorry you do 
not attend some eminent minister in the church, such as Mr. 
H 2 



100 LETTERS OF 

Cecil, or Mr. Pratt, or Mr. Crowther, in preference to the 
meeting; since I am convinced a man runs less danger of 
being misled or of building on false foundations in the establish- 
ment than out, and this too for plain reasons : dissenters are 
apt to think they are religious, because they are dissenters — 
" lor," argue they, " if we had not a regard for religion, why 
should we leave the establishment at all ? The very act of 
leaving it shows we have a regard for religion, because we 
manifest an aversion to its abuses." Besides this, at the 
meeting-house you are not likely to hear plain and unwelcome 
truths so honestly told as in the church, where the minister is 
not so dependent on his flock, and the prayers are so properly 
selected, that you will meet with petitions calculated for all 
your wants, bodily and spiritual, without being left at the 
mercy 01 the minister to pray for what and in what manner he 
likes. Remember these are not offered as reasons why you 
should always attend the church, but to put you in mind that 
there are advantages there which, you should avail yourself of, 
instead of making invidious comparisons between the two 
institutions. 



TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 

Winteringliam, Jan. 81st, 1805. 
Deah Ben, 

I have long been convinced of the truth of what you say, 
respecting the effects of close reading on a man's mind, in a 
religious point of view, and I am more and more convinced 
that literature is very rarely the source of satisfaction of mind 
to a Christian. I would wish you to steer clear of too 
abstracted and subtle a mode of thinking and reasoning, and 
you will so be happier than your friend. A relish ior books 
will be a sweet source of amusement and a salutary relaxation 
to you throughout life ; but let it not be more than a relish, 
it you value your own peace. I think, however, that you 
ought to strengthen your mind a little with logic, and for this 
purpose I would advise you to go through Euclid with sedulous 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 101 

and serious attention, and likewise to read Duncan through. 
You are too desultory a reader, and regard amusement too 
much; if you wish your reading in good earnest to amuse 
you, when you are old, as well as now in your youth, you will 
take care to form a taste for substantial and sound authors, 
and will not be the less eager to study a work because it 
requires a little labour to understand it. 

After you have read Euclid, and amused yourself with 
Locke's sublime speculations, you will derive much pleasure 
from Butler's Analogy, without exception the most unan- 
swerable demonstration of the folly of infidelity that the world 
ever saw. 

Books like these will give you more strength of mind, and 
consistent firmness, than either you or I now possess ; while, 
on the other hand, the effeminate 'Panada of Magazines, 
Tales, and the tribe of penny-catching pamphlets, of which 
desultory readers are so fond, only tend to enervate the mind, 
and incapacitate it for every species of manly exertion. 
% % % % 

I continue to be better in health, although the weather is a 
great obstacle to my taking a proper proportion of exercise. 
I have had a trip to Hull of late, and saw the famous painter 

B there, with whom I had a good deal of talk. He is a 

pious man and a great astronomer; but in manners and 
appearance a complete artist. I rather think he is inclined to 
Hutchinsonian principles, and entertains no great reverence 
for Sir Isaac Newton. 

* % * * 



My dear Ben, 



TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 

Wintering!] am, 1st March, 1805. 



I hope and trust that you have at length arrived at that 
happy temperament of disposition, that, although you have 
much cause of sadness within, you are yet willing to be amused 
with the variegated scenes around you, and to join, when occa- 



102 LETTEES OF 

sions present themselves, in innocent mirth. Thus, in the 
course of your peregrinations, occurrences must continually 
arise, which, to a mind willing to make the best of everything, 
will afford amusement of the chastest kind. Men and manners 
are a never-failing source of wonder and surprise, as they 
present themselves in their various phases. We may very 
innocently laugh at the brogue of a Somerset peasant— and I 
should think that person both cynical and surly, who could 
pass by a group of laughing children, without participating in 
their delight, and joining in then laugh. It is a truth most 
undeniable, and most melancholy, that there is too much in 
human life which extorts tears and groans, rather than smiles. 
This, however, is equally certain, that our giving way to unre- 
mitting sadness on these accounts, so far from ameliorating the 
condition of mortality, only adds to the aggregate of human 
misery, and throws a gloom over those moments when a ray 
of light is permitted to visit the dark valley of life, and the 
heart ought to be making the best of its fleeting happiness. 
Landscape, too, ought to be a source of delight to you ; fine 
buildings, objects of nature, and a thousand things which it 
would be tedious to name. I should call the man who could 
survey such things as these without being affected with plea- 
sure, either a very weak-minded and foolish person, or one of 
no mind at all. To be always sad, and always pondering on 
internal griefs, is what I call utter selfishness : I would not 
give two-pence for a being who is locked up in his own suffer- 
ings, and whose heart cannot respond to the exhilarating cry 
of nature, or rejoice because he sees others rejoice. The loud 
and unanimous chirping of the birds on a fine sunny morning, 
pleases me, because I see they are happy : and I should be 
very selfish, did 1 not participate in their seeming joy. Do 
nor, however, suppose that I mean to exclude a man's own 
sorrows from his thoughts, since that is an impossibility, and, 
were it possible, would be prejudicial to the human heart. I 
only mean that the whole mind is not to be incessantly 
engrossed with its cares, but with cheerful elasticity to bend 
itself occasionally to circumstances, and give way without 
hesitation to pleasing emotions. To be pleased with little, is 
one of the greatest blessings. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 103 

Sadness is itself sometimes infinitely more pleasing than 
joy ; but this sadness must be of the expansive and generous 
kind, rather referring to mankind at large, than the individual ; 
and this is a feeling not incompatible with cheerfulness and a 
contented spirit. There is difficulty, however, in setting 
bounds to a pensive disposition ; I have felt it, and I have felt 
that I am not always adequate to the task. I sailed from Hull 
to Barton the day before yesterday, on a rough and windy day, 
in a vessel filled with a marching regiment of soldiers : the 
band played finely, and I was enjoying the many pleasant 
emotions which the water, sky, winds, and musical instruments 
excited, when my thoughts were suddenly called away to more 
melancholy subjects. A girl, genteelly dressed, and with a 
countenance which, for its loveliness, a painter might have 
copied for Hebe, with a loud laugh seized me by the great coat, 
and asked me to lend it her : she was one of those unhappy 
creatures who depend on the brutal and licentious for a bitter 
livelihood, and was now following in the train of one of the 
officers. I was greatly affected by her appearance and situa- 
tion, and more so by that of another female who was with her, 
and who, with less beauty, had a wild sorrowfulness in her 
face, which showed she knew her situation. This incident, 
apparently trifling, induced a train of reflections, which occu- 
pied me fully during a walk of six or seven miles to our 
parsonage. At first I wished that I had fortune to erect an 
asylum for all the miserable and destitute : — and there was a 
soldier's wife, with a wan and nagged face, and a little infant 
in her arms, whom I would also have wished to place in it. 
I then grew out of humour with the world, because it was so 
unfeeling and so miserable, and because there was no cure for 
its miseries ; and I wished for a lodging in the wilderness, 
where I might hear no more of wrongs, affliction, or vice : but, 
after all my speculations, I found there was a reason for these 
things in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that to those who 
sought it there was also a cure. So I banished my vain medi- 
cations, and knowing that God's providence is better able to 
direct the affairs of men than our wisdom — I leave them in Ms 

hands. 

* * * * 



104 LETTERS OF 

TO HIS MOTHER. 

YVinteringhani, 5th Feb., 1805. 

Dear Mothek, 

* * * * 

The spectacles for my father are, I hope, such as will enable 
him to read with ease, although they are not set in silver. 
If they hurt him through stiffness, I think the better way will 
be to wear them with the tico end joints shut to, and with a 
piece of ribbon to go round the back of the head, &c. The 
Romaine's Sermons, and the cheap tracts, are books which I 
thought might be useful. You may think I am not yet privi- 
leged to make presents, since they will in the end come out of 
your pocket ; but I am not in want of cash at present, and 
have reason to believe, from my own calculations, I shall not 
have occasion to call upon you for what I know you can so ill 
spare. I was quite vexed afterwards that I did not send you 
all the volumes of the Cheap Repository, as the others, which 
are the general tracts, and such as are more entertaining, 
would have been well adapted to your library. "When I next 
go to Hull, 1 purpose buying the remaining volumes ; and 
when I next have occasion to send a parcel, you will receive 
them. The volume you have uoav got contains all the Sunday 
reading tracts, and on that account I sent it separately. As I 
have many things to remind me of my sister Smith, I thought 
(though we neither of us need such mementos) that she would 
not be averse to receive the sermons of the great and good, 
though in some respects singular, Romaine, at my hands, as 
what old-fashioned people would call a token of a brother s 
X'ove, but what in more courtly phrase is denominated a 
memento of affection. 

TO MR. SERJEANT ROUGH. 

Winteringham, 17th Feb., 1805. 
My dear Sin, 

I blush when I look back to the date of your too long 
unanswered letter, and were I not satisfied that the contents" 
of my sheet of post must always be too unimportant to need 
apology, I should now make one. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 105 

The fine and spirited song (song in the noblest sense of the 
word) which you sent nie, on the projected invasion, demands 
my best thanks. The fervid patriotism which animates it, 
would, I think, find an echo in every bosom in England ; and 
I hope and trust the world has not been deprived of so appro- 
priate an exhortation. I perceive, however,- one thing, which 
is, that your fire has been crampt by the " crambo " of the 
rhyme, at all times a grievous shackle to poets, and yet 
capable of such sweet and expressive modulation, as makes 
us hug our chains, and exult in the hard servitude. My poor 
neglected muse has lain absolutely unnoticed by me for the 
last four months, during which period I have been digging in 
the mines of Scapula for Greek roots ; and, instead of drink 
ing, with eager delight, the beauties of Yirgil, have been 
cutting and drying his phrases for future use. The place 
where I live is on the banks of the Humber ; here no Sicilian 
river, but rough with cold winds, and bordered with killing 
swamps. What with neglect, and what with the climate, so 
congenial to rural meditation, I fear my good Genius, who 
was wont to visit me with nightly visions "in woods and 
brakes, and by the river's marge," is now dying of a fen-ague ; 
and I shall thus probably emerge from my retreat, not a hair- 
brained son of imagination, but a sedate black-lettered book- 
worm, with a head like an etymologicon magnum. 

Eorgive me this fiippancy, in which I am not very apt to 
indulge, and let me offer my best wishes that it is not with 
your muse as with mine. Eloquence has always been thought 
akin to poetry : though her efforts are not so effectually per- 
petuated, she is not the less honoured, or her memory the less 
carefully preserved. Many very plausible hypotheses are 
contradicted by facts, yet I should imagine that the genius 
which prompted your " Conspiracy " would be no common 
basis on which to erect a superstructure of oratorical fame. — 
" Est enim oratori finitimus Poeta, numeris adstrictior paulo, 
verborum autem licentia liberior, multis vero ornandi generibus 
socius, ac pene par," &c. You, no doubt, are well acquainted 
with this passage, in the 1st Dial. De Orat., so I shall not go 
on with it • but I encourage a hope, that I shall one day see 



106 LETTERS OF 

a living proof of the truth of this position in you. Do not 
quite exclude me from a kind of fellow-feeling with you in 
your oratorical pursuits, for you know I must make myself a 
fit herald for the important message I am ordained to deliver, 
and I shall bestow some pains to this end. No inducement 
whatever should prevail on me to enter into orders, if I were 
not thoroughly convinced of the truth of the Religion I pro- 
fess, as contained in the New Testament ; and I hope that 
whatever I know to be the truth, I shall not hesitate to 
proclaim, however much it may be disliked or despised. The 
discovery of Truth, it is notorious, ought to be the object of 
all true philosophy ; and the attainment of this end must, to 
a philosopher, be the greatest of all possible blessings. If 
then a man be satisfied that he has arrived at the fountain- 
head of pure Truth, and yet, because the generality of men 
hold different sentiments, dares not avow it, but tacitly gives 
assent to falsehood, he withholds from men what, according 
to his principles, it is for their good to know — he prefers his 
personal good to Truth — and he proves that, whatever he may 
profess, he is not imbued with the spirit of true Philosophy. 

I have some intention of becoming a candidate for Sir Wil- 
liam Brown's medals this year ; and if I should, it would be a 
great satisfaction to me to subject my attempts to so good a 
classic as I understand you to be. In the mean time, you will 
confer a real favour on me, if you will transcribe some of your 
Latin verses for me, as I am anxious to see the general character 
of modern Latin as it is received at Cambridge ; and elegant 
verses always give me great pleasure, in whatever language I 
read them. Such I know yours will be. 

* * * * 

In this remote corner of the world, where we have neither 
books nor booksellers, I am as ignorant of the affairs of the 
literary world as an inhabitant of Siberia. Sometimes the 
newspaper gives me some scanty hints ; but, as I do not see a 
review, I cannot be said to hold converse with the Republic. 
Pray is the voice of the Muses quite suspended in the clang of 
arms, or do they yet sing, though unheeded? All literary 
information will be to me quite new and interesting ; but do 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 107 

not suppose I hope to intrude on your more valuable time with 
these tilings. When you shall have leisure, I hope to hear 
from you ; and whatever you say, coming from you, it cannot 
fail to interest. 

Believe me, dear Sir, 

Yery sincerely, yours, 

H. K. White. 



TO ME. K. SWANN. 

Win tenia gham, 16th March, 1805. 
Dear Kirke, 

* & * m 

I was affected by the death of young B . He once 

called upon me, with Mr. H , when I was very ill, and on 

that occasion Mr. H said to us both, " Young men, I 

would have you both pack off to Lisbon, for you wont last 

long if you stay here." Mr. was then about to set out 

for Hamburgh; and he told me afterwards, that he never 
expected to see me again, for that he thought I was more 

desperately gone in consumption than B . Yet you see 

how the good providence of God has spared me, and I am yet 
living, as I trust, to serve him with all my strength. Had I 
died then, I should have perished for ever ; but I have now 
hope, through the Lord Jesus, that I shall see the day of 
death with joy, and possibly be the means of rescuing others 
from a similar situation. I certainly thought of the ministry 
at first with improper motives, and my views of Christianity 
were for a long time very obscure; but I have, I trust, 
gradually been growing out of darkness into light, and I feel 
a well-grounded hope, that God has sanctified my heart for 
great and valuable purposes. Woe be unto me if I frustrate 
his designs. 



108 LETTERS OF 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Winterihgham, April, 1805. 
Dear Neville, 

* * * * 

You wrote me a long sheet this last time, and I have 
every reason to be satisfied with it, yet I sometimes wish I 
could make you write closer and smaller. Since your mind 
must necessarily be now much taken up with other things, I 
dare not press my former inquiries on subjects of reading. 
"When your leisure season comes, I shall be happy to hear 
from you on these topics. 

It is a remark of an ancient philosophical poet (Horace), 
that every man thinks his neighbour's condition happier than 
his own ; and, indeed, common experience shows that we are 
too apt to entertain romantic notions of absent, and to think 
meanly of present, things ; to extol what we have had no 
experience of, and to be discontented with what we possess. 
The man of business sighs for the sweets of leisure : the person 
who, with a taste for reading, has few opportunities for it, 
thinks that man's life the sum of bliss who has nothing to do 
but to study. Yet it often happens that the condition of the 
envier is happier than that of the envied. You have read Dr. 
Johnson's tale of the poor Tallow-chandler, who, after sighing 
for the quiet of country life, at length scraped money enough 
to retire, but found his long-sought-for leisure so insupportable, 
that he made a voluntary offer to his successor to come up 
to town every Friday, and melt tallow for him gratis. It would 
be so with half the men of business, who sigh so earnestly for 
the sweets of retirement ; and you may receive it as one of the 
maturest observations I have been able to make on human life, 
that there is no condition so happy as that of him who leads a 
life of full and constant employment. His amusements have 
a zest which men of pleasure would gladly undergo all his 
drudgery to experience; and the regular succession of business, 
provided his situation be not too anxious, drives away from, 
his brain those harassing speculations which are continually 
assaulting the man of leisure, and the man of reading. The 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 109 

studious man, though his pleasures are of the most refined 
species, finds cares and disturbing thoughts in study. To 
think much and deeply will soon make a man sad. His 
thoughts, ever on the wing, often carry him where he shudders 
to be even in imagination. He is like a man in sleep — some- 
times his dreams are pleasing, but at others horror itself takes 
possession of his imagination ; and this inequality of mind is 
almost inseparable from much meditation and mental exercise. 
Erom this cause it often happens, that lettered and philo- 
sophical men are peevish in their tempers and austere in their 
manners. The inference I would draw from these remarks is 
generally this, that although every man carries about him the 
seeds of happiness or misery in his own bosom, yet it is a truth 
not liable to many exceptions, that men are more equally free 
from anxiety and care, in proportion as they recede from the 
more refined and mental, to the grosser and bodily employ- 
ments and modes of life, but that the happiest condition is 
placed in the middle, between the extremes ot- both. Thus a 
person with a moderate love of reading, and few opportunities 
of indulging it, would be inclined to envy one in my situation, 
because such a one has nothing to do but to read ; but I could 
tell him, that though my studious pleasures are more compre- 
hensive than his, they are not more exquisite, and that an 
occasional banquet gives more delight than a continual feast. 
Reading should be dearer to you than to me, because I always 
read, and you but seldom. 

Almond and I took a small boat on Monday, and set out for 
Hull, a distance of thirteen miles, as some compute it, though 
others make it less. We went very merrily with a good pair 
of oars, until we came within four miles of Hull, when, owing 
to some hard working, we were quite exhausted ; but as the 
tide was nearly down, and the shore soft, we could not get to 
any villages on the banks. At length we made Hull, and just 
arrived in time to be grounded in the middle of the harbour, 
without any possible means of getting ashore till the flux or 
flood. As we were half-famished, I determined to wade ashore 
for provisions, and had the satisfaction oi getting above the 
knees in mud almost every step I made. "When I got ashore 



110 LETTERS OF 

I recollected I had given Almond all my cash. This was a 
terrible dilemma— to return back was too laborious, and I 
expected the tide flowing every minute. At last I detennined 
to go to the inn where we usually dine when we go to Hull, 
and try how much credit I possessed there, and I happily found 
no dimculty in procuring refreshments, which I carried off in 
triumph to the boat. Here new difficulties occurred ; for the 
tide had flowed in considerably during my absence, although 
not sufficiently to move the boat, so that my wade was much 
worse back than it had been before. On our return, a most 
placid and calm day was converted into a cloudy one, and we 
had a brisk gale in our teeth. Knowing we were quite safe, 
we struck across from Hull to Barton ; and when we were off 
Hazel "Whelps, a place winch is always rough, we had some 
tremendous swells, which we weathered admirably, and 
(bating our getting on the wrong side of a bank, owing to 
the deceitful appearance of the coast) we had a prosperous 
voyage home., having rowed twenty-six miles in less than five 
hours. 



Mr deah Kulke, 



TO MB. K. SWANN. 

Winteriugham, April Ctb, 1805. 



Your complaint of the lukewammess of your affections 
towards spiritual things, is a very common one with Christians. 
We all feel it ; and if it be attended with an earnest desire to 
acquit ourselves in this respect, and to recover our wonted 
fervour, it is a complaint indicative of our faithfulness. In 
cases of Christian experience, I submit my own opinion to 
anybody's, and have too serious a distrust of it myself to offer 
it as a rule or maxim of unquestionable authority; but I 
have found, and think, that the best remedy against luke- 
warmness is an obstinate persisting in prayer until our auc- 
tions be moved, and a regular habit of going to religious 
duties with a prepared and meek heart, thinking more of 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. Ill 

obtaining communion with God than of spending so many 
minutes in seeking it. Thus, when we pray, we must not kneel 
down with the idea that we are to spend so many minutes in 
supplication, and after the usual time has elapsed, go about 
our regular business ; we must remind ourselves that we have 
an object in prayer, and that until that object be attained, 
that is, until we are satisfied that our Father hears us, we are 
not to conceive that our duty is performed, although we may 
be in the posture of prayer for an hour. 

* * « * 



TO HIS MOTHER. 

Winteringham, 12th April, 1805. 
My dear Mother, 

* * * ^ 

I have constructed a planetarium, or orrery, of a very 
simple kind, which cannot fail to give even children an idea of 
the order and course of the heavenly bodies. I shall write a 
few plain and simple lectures upon it, with lessons to be got 
off by heart by the children, so that you will be able, without 
any difficulty, to teach them the rudiments of astronomy. 
The machine, simple as it may seem, is such, that you cannot 
fail to understand the planetary system by it ; and were it not 
that I cannot afford the additional expense, I could make it 
much more complete and interesting. You must not expect 
anything striking in the instrument itself, as it only consists 
of an index plate, with rods and balls. It will explain the 
situation of the planets, their courses, the motion of the earth 
and moon, the causes of the seasons, the different lengths of 
day and night, the reason of eclipses, transits, &c. When 
you have seen it, and read the explanatory lectures, you will 
be able to judge of its plainness ; and if you find you under- 
stand it, you may teach geography scholars its use. Should it 
fail in other points of view, it will be useful to Maria and 
Catharine. 



112 LETTERS OF 

Remember to keep up the plan of family worship on Sun- 
days with strictness until I come, and it will probably pave 
the way for still further improvements, which I may, perhaps, 
have an opportunity of making while I stay with you. Let 
Maria and Catharine be more particularly taught to regard 
Sunday as a day set apart from all worldly occupations : let 
them have everything prepared for the Sabbath on the pre- 
ceding day; and be carefully warned, on that day in parti- 
cular, to avoid paying too great an attention to dress. I know 
how important habits like these will be to their future hap- 
piness even in this world, and I therefore press this with 

earnestness. 

* * * * 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Winteringliam, 20th May, ]S05. 
My dear. Seville, 

My first business must be to thank you for the 

which I received by Mr. K. Swann; you must not suppose 
that I feel reluctance to lie under obligations to so affectionate 
a brother, when I say, that I have felt uneasy ever since on 
more accounts than one. I am convinced, in the first place, 
that you have little to spare ; and I fear, in the second, that I 
shall prove an hindrance to a measure which I know to be 
necessary for your health ; I mean your going to some watering- 
place for the benefit of sea-bathing. I am aware of the 
nature of injuries received at the joints, especially the knee ; 
and I am sure nothing will strengthen your knee more for the 
present, and prevent the recurrence of disease in it for the 
future. I would have you, therefore, if by any means you can 
be spared in London, go to one of the neighbouring coasts, 
and take sufficient time to recover your strength. You may 
pitch upon some pleasant place, where there will be sufficient 
company to amuse you, and not so much as to create bustle, 
and make a toil of reflection, and turn retirement into riot. 
Since you must be as sensible as I am, that this is necessary 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 113 

for your health, I shall feel assured, if you do not go, that I 
am the cause, a consideration I would gladly spare myself. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Nottingham, June, 1805. 
My dear Brother, 

I wrote you a long letter from Winteringham some time 
ago, which I now apprehend you have never received, or, if 
you have, some more important concerns have occupied your 
time than writing to me on general subjects. Eeeling, how- 
ever, rather weary to night, I have determined to send this 
sheet to you, as a proof that if I am not a punctual, I am 
certainly far from a ceremonious correspondent. 

Our adventure on the Humber you should have learnt from 
K. Swarm, who, with much minuteness, filled up three sides 
of a letter to his friend with the account. The matter was 
simply this : he, Almond, and myself, made an excursion 
about twelve or fourteen miles up the Humber ; on our return 
ran aground, were left by the tide on a sand-bank, and were 
obliged to remain six hours in an open boat, exposed to a 
heavy rain, high wind, and piercing cold, until the tide rose, 
when two men brought a boat to our assistance. We got 
home about twelve o'clock at night; no evil consequences 
ensued, owing to our using every exertion we could think of 
to keep warmth in our bodies. 



TO MR. JOHN CHARLESWORTH. 

Nottingham, 27th June, 1805. 
My dear Eriend, 

It is some time since I wrote to you, and still longer 
since I heard from you ; but you are acquainted with my un- 
ceremonious disposition, and will, I hope, pardon me for ob- 
truding an unbidden guest on your notice. I have a question 
I 



114 LETTERS OF 

to ask of you in the first place, and I shall then fill up my 
letter with all the familiarity of a man talking by your side, 
and saying anything, rather than be accused of saying nothing. 
My leisure will scarcely permit me to write to you again while 
I am here, and I shall therefore make the best use of the pre- 
sent occasion. 

* * * # 

"We have been fagging through Rollin's Ancient History, 
and some oilier historical books, as I believe, to no great pur- 
pose. Rollin is a valuable and truly pious writer, but so 
crammed and garnished with reflections, that you lose the 
thread of the story, while the poor man is prosing about the 
morality of it ; when, too, after all, the moral is so obvious as 
not to need insisting upon. You may give my compliments to 
your good friends Galen, Hippocrates and Paracelsus, and tell 
them I had much rather pay them my devoirs at a distance, 
than come into close contact with them or their cathartics. 
Medical Greek, and medical Latin, would act as a sudorific 
upon any man, who should hear their tremendous technicals 
pronounced with the true ore rotundo of a Scotch physician. 

And now, my dear Sir, we will cry a truce to flippancy — I 
have neither time nor inclination to indulge in it to excess. 
You and I have been some time asunder in the pursuit of our 
several studies ; you to the lively and busy seat of gaiety, 
fashion and folly; I to the retired haunts of a secluded 
village, and the studious walls of a silent and ancient parson- 
age. At first sight one would think that my lot had been most 
profitable, as undoubtedly it is most secure; but when we 
come to consider the present state of things in the capital, the 
boundless opportunities oi spiritual improvement which offer 
themselves, and the very superior society which every serious 
man may there join with, the tables seem turned in your favour. 
I hope and trust this is really the case, and that, with philoso- 
phical strength of mind, you have turned an unregarding ear 
to the voice of folly, and continued fixed upon the serener and 
far more exquisite occupations of a religious life. I have been 
cultivating in retirement, by slow and imperceptible degrees, a 
closer communion with God; but you have been led, as it 



HENEY KIRKE WHITE. 115 

were, in triumph by the energetic discourses of the many good 
men whom yon have had the opportunity of hearing, to heights 
of religious satisfaction, which I can at present only sigh for 
at a distance. I appeal to you whether the Grace of God is 
not the source of exquisite enjoyments ? What can be more 
delightful than that sweet and placid calm which it casts over 
one's mind; or than the tenderness it sheds abroad in our 
hearts, both with regard to God, and our poor fellow-labourers ? 
Even worldly-minded men confess that this life is, at best, but 
a scene of anxiety, and disappointment, and distress. How 
absurd, then, and inconsistent, must be their conduct, when, 
in spite of this so general and confirmed an experience, they 
neglect what can alone alleviate the sorrows of this life, and 
provide for the happiness of the next ? How much more is 
he to be envied, who can exclaim with St. Paul, " The ivorld 
is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." " I have learnt, 
in whatever state I am, therewith to he content." " The 
ivorld passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth 
the will of God, abideth for ever." There is, in truth, an 
indescribable satisfaction in the service of God; his grace 
imparts such composure in time of trouble, and such fortitude 
in the anticipation of it, at the same time that it increases our 
pleasures by making them innocent, that the Christian, viewed 
either as militant in this troublous scene, or as a traveller who 
is hastening by a difficult, but short journey, to a better country, 
is a most enviable and happy character. The man who lives 
without God in the world, on the other hand, has neither rest 
here, nor certainty or hope for the future. His reflections 
must, at all times, be dubious and dark, not to say distressing : 
and his most exquisite enjoyments must have a sting of fear 
and apprehension in them, which is felt when the gay hour is 
over, and its joys no more remembered. Many wicked and 
dissipated men sigh in secret for the state of the righteous, 
but they conceive there are insuperable obstacles in the way 
of religion, and that they must amend their lives before they 
can hope for acceptance, or even dare to seek acceptance with 
God. But what a miserable delusion is this ! If this were 
truly the case, how awful would be the condition of the 
I 2 



116 LETTERS OF 

sinner ! for we know that onr hearts are so depraved, and so 
obstinately addicted to sin, that they cannot forsake it without 
some more than mortal power to cut asunder the bonds of 
innate corruption, and loosen the affections from this sinful 
bondage. I was talking a few days ago with a young surgeon, 
who is just returned from the East Indies, and was expostu- 
lating with him on his dissolute habits: "Sir," said he, "I 
know you are happy, and I would give worlds to be able to 
subdue my passion ; but it is impossible, it never can be dene. 
I have made resolution upon resolution, and the only effect has 
been, that I have plunged deeper into vice than ever." What 
could be a stronger illustration of the Scripture truth, that 
man's heart is naturally corrupt, and desperately wicked? 
Since wickedness is misery, can we conceive that an all-good 
and benevolent God would have originally created man with 
such a disposition ? It is sin which, has made the world a vale 
of tears. It is the power of the cross of Jesus Christ alone 
that can redeem us from our natural depravity. " Yes," my 
friend, "toe know on whom we have believed; and we are 
persuaded, that he is able to keep that which we have com- 
mitted unto him against the great day." When I occasionally 
reflect on the history of the times when the great Redeemer 
appeared, behold God preparing his way before him, uniting 
all the civilized world in one language, (Greek,) for the speedier 
disseminating of the blessed Gospel ; and then when I com- 
pare his precepts with those of the most famous of ancient 
sages, and meditate on his life, his manners, his sufferings, and 
cruel death, I am lost in wonder, love, and gratitude. Such a j 
host of evidence attended him, as no power but that of the 
devil could withstand. His doctrines, compared with the mo- 
rality of the then world, seem indeed to have dropt down from I 
heaven. His meekness, his divine compassion and. pity for, I 
and forgiveness of, his bitterest enemies, convinces me that he 1 
was indeed the Word, that he was what he professed to be, I 
God, in his Son, reconciling the world to himself. These | 
thoughts open my eyes to my own wretched ingratitude, and I 
disregard of so merciful and compassionate a master ; under I 
such impressions, I could ardently long to be separated alto- ] 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 117 

gether from ihe affairs of this life, and live alone to my 
Redeemer. Eat, alas ! this does not last long — the pleasing 
ontside of the delusive world entices my heart away ; beauty 
smiles me into a disgust of religion, and the fear of singularity 
frowns me into the concealment of it. How artfully does the 
arch-deceiver insinuate himself into our hearts ! He tells us 
that there is a deal of unnecessary moroseness in religion, a 
deal too many humiliating conditions in the gospel, and many 
ignorant absurdities in its professors ; while, on the other hand, 
the polite world is so cheerful and pleasing, so full of harmless 
gaiety and refined elegance, that we camiot but love it. This 
is an insidious species of reasoning. Could we but see things 
in their true colours, were but the false varnish of) the society 
of the gospel would seem an assembly of angels, that of the 
world a congregation of devils : but it is the best way not to 
reason with the tempter. I have a talisman, which at once 
puts to flight all his arguments ; it is the name of my Saviour, 
and against that the gates of hell shall not prevail. That is 
my anchor and my confidence : I can go with that to the bed 
of death, and lift up the eyes of the dying and despairing wretch 
to the great Intercessor ; I can go with this into the society 
of the cheerful, and come away with lightness of heart and 
entertainment of spirit. In every circumstance of life I can 
join with Job, who, above fourteen hundred years before Jesus 
Christ, exclaims, in the fervour of holy anticipation, " I know 
that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter 
day upon the earth ; and though after my skin worms destroy 
this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." 

The power of the gospel was never more strongly illustrated 
than in the late mission to Greenland. These poor and unlet- 
tered tribes, who inhabit nearly the extremist verge of animal 
existence, heard the discourses of the Danish missionaries on 
the being of a God with stupid unconcern, expressed their 
assent to everything that was proposed to them, and then 
hoped to extort some present for their complacency. Eor ten 
years did a very learned and pious man labour among them 
without the conversion of a single soul. He thought that he 
must prove to them the existence of a God, and the original 



118 LETTERS OF 

stain of our natures, before lie could preach the peculiar doc- 
trines of the gospel, and he could never get over this first 
step ; for they either could not understand it, or would not, 
and when no presents were to be had, turned away in disgust. 
At length he saw his error, and the plan of operations was 
altered. Jesus Christ was preached in simplicity, without any 
preparation. The Greenlanders seemed thoughtful, amazed, 
and confounded; their eyes were opened to their depraved 
and lost state. The gospel was received everywhere with 
ardent attention. The flame spread like wild-fire over the 
icy wastes of Greenland; numbers came from the remotest 
recesses of the Northern Ocean to hear the word of life, and 
the greater part of the population of that extensive country 
has in time been baptized in the name of the Father, and the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost. 

I have now filled my sheet. Pardon my prolixity, and, 
believe me, my prayers are offered up frequently for your 
continuance of the path you have chosen. Eor myself, I need 
your prayers — may we be a mutual assistance to each other, 
and to all our fellow-labourers in the Lord Jesus. 
Believe me 

Your sincere friend, 

H. K. White. 



TO MR. JOHN CH ABLE S WORTH. 

Nottingham, 6th July, 1805. 
Dear Charlesworth, 

* & % * 

I beg you will admire the elegance of texture and shape 
of the sheet on which I have the honour to write to you, and 
beware, lest in drawing your conclusions, you conceive that I 
am turned exciseman ; for I assure you I write altogether in 
character ; — a poor Cambridge scholar, with a patrimony of a 
few old books, an ink-horn, and some sundry quires of paper, 
manufactured as the envelope of pounds of tea, but converted 
into repositories of learning and taste. 

The classics are certainly in disrepute. The ladies have no 
more reverence for Greek and Latin than they have for an old 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 119 

peruke, or the ruffles of Queen Anne. I verily believe that 
they would hear Homer's Greek without evidencing one mark 
of terror and awe, even though spouted by an university 
orator, or a Westminster stentor. tempora, mores ! the 
rural elegance of the twanging French horn, and the vile 
squeak of the Italian fiddle, are more preferred than all the 
energy and all the sublimity of all the Greek and Roman 
orators, historians, poets, and philosophers, put together. 
Now, sir, as a classic, I cannot bear to have the honourable 
fame of the ancients thus despised and contemned, and there- 
fore I have a controversy with all the beaux and belles, 
Frenchmen and Italians. When they tell me that I walk by 
rile and compass, that I balance my body with strict regard 
to the centre of gravity, and that I have more Greek in my 
pate than grace in my limbs, I can bear it all in sullen silence, 
for you know it must be a libel, since I am no mathematician, 
and therefore cannot have learned to walk ill by system. As 
for grace, I do believe, since I read Xenophon, I am become a 
very elegant man, and in due time shall be able to spout 
Pindar, dancing in due gradation the advancing, retrograde and 
medium steps, according to the regular progress of the strophe, 
antistrophe, and epode. You and I will be very fashionable 
men after the manner of the Greeks: we will institute an 
orchestra for the exercise of the ars saltandi, and will recline 
at our meals on the legitimate Triclinium of the ancients — 
only banish all modern beaux and belles, to whom I am a 
professed and declared enemy. 
So much for flippancy — 

Yale! S. R. Y. B. E. E. Q. Y. 

H. K. White. 



TO MK. SERJEANT EOUGH. 

Brigg, near Winteringham, July, 1805. 

My dear Sir, 

I have just missed you at Lincoln, where I had some 
expectations of seeing you, and had not circumstances pre- 
vented, I had certainly waited there till to-morrow morning 



120 LETTERS OF 

for that purpose. This letter, which I wrote at Brigg, I shall 
convey to you at Kirton, by some person going to the session ; 
many of whom, I have no doubt, are to be found in this 
litigious little town. 

Your mis-directed epistle, to my great sorrow, never reached 
my hands. As I was very anxious to get it, I made many 
inquiries at the post-offices round ; but they were all in vain. 
I consider this as a real loss, and I hope you will regard me as 
still under the pressure of vexation, until I receive some sub- 
stitute from your hands. 

Had I any certain expectation of hearing you address the 
Court, or Jury sworn, at Kirton, no circumstances should 
prevent me from being present; so do I long to mark the 
dawnings of that eloquence which will one day ring through 

every court in the Midland Circuit. I think the noise of , 

the overbearing petulance of , and the decent assurance 

of , will readily yield to that pure, chaste, and manly 

eloquence, which, I have no doubt, you chiefly cultivate. It 
seems to me, who am certainly no very competent judge, that 
there is an uniform mode or art of pleading in our courts, 
which is in itself faulty, and is, moreover, a bar to the higher 
excellences. You know, before a barrister begins, in what 
manner he will treat the subject; you anticipate his positive- 
ness, his complete confidence in the stability of his case, his 
contempt of his opponent, his voluble exaggeration, and the 
vehemence of his indignation. All these are as of course. It is 

no matter what sort of a face the business assume : if Mr. 

be all impetuosity, astonishment and indignation on one side, 
we know he would not have been a whit less impetuous, less 
astonished, or less indignant, on the other, had he happened 
to have been retained. It is true, this assurance of success, 
this contempt of an opponent, and dictatorial decision in 
speaking, are calculated to have effect on the minds of a jury ; 
and if it be the business of a counsel to obtain his ends by any 
means, he is right to adopt them ; but the misfortune is, that 
all these things are mechanical, and as much in the power of 
the opposite counsel as in your own ; so that it is not so much 
who argues best, as who speaks last, loudest, or longest. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 121 

True eloquence, on the other hand, is confident only where 
there is real ground for confidence, trusts more to reason and 
facts than to imposing declamation, and seeks rather to con- 
vince than dazzle. The obstreperous rant of a pleader may, 
for awhile, intimidate a jury ; but plain and manly argument, 
delivered in a candid and ingenious manner, will more effec- 
tually work upon their understandings, and will make an 
impression on which the froth of declamation will be lost. I 
think a man who would plead in this manner, would gain the 
confidence of a jury, and would find the avenues of their hearts 
much more open, than a man of more assurance, who, by too 
much confidence where there is much doubt, and too much 
vehemence where there is greater need of coolness, puts his 
hearers continually in mind that he is pleading for hire. There 
seems to me so much beauty in truth, that I could wish our 
barristers would make a distinction between cases, in their 
opinion well or ill founded, embarking their whole heart and 
soul in the one, and contenting themselves with a perspicuous 
and forcible statement of their client's case in the other, 

Pardon my rambling. The cacoethes scribendi can only be 
used by indulgence, and we have all a propensity to talk about 
things we do not understand. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

Winteringham, Aug. 20tb, 1805. 
Dear Neville, 

* * % m 

I am very sensible of all your affection, in your anxiety 
that I should not diminish my books; but I am by no means 
relieved from the anxiety which, on more accounts than one, 
I am under as to my present situation, so great a burthen to 
the family, when I ought to be a support. My father made 
some heavy complaints when I was at home ; and though I 
am induced to believe that he is enough harassed to render it 
very excusable, yet I cannot but feel strongly the peculiarity 
of my situation, and, at my age, feel ashamed that I should 



122 LETTERS OF 

add to Ms burthens. At present I have my hands completely 
tied behind me. When I get to college, I hope to have more 
opportunities of advantage, and, if I am fortunate, I shall 
probably relieve my father and mother from the weight which 
I now lay upon them. I wish you, if you read this letter to 
my mother, to omit this part. 

* * * * 



TO CAPEL LOFFT, ESQ. 

Winteringham, Sept. 10th, 1805. 
Dear Sir, 

Your letter has at length reached me at tin's place, where 
I have been for the last ten months employed in classica 
reading, with Mr. Grainger. It gives me pleasure to hear of 
you, and of poetry; for, since I came here, I have not only 
been utterly shut out from all intercourse with the lettered 
world, but have totally laid aside the pen of inspiration. I 
have been actuated to this by a sense of duty ; for I wish to 
prove that I have not coveted the ministerial office through 
the desire of learned leisure, but with an ardent wish to do 
my duty as a teacher of the truth. I should blush to present 
myself as a candidate for that office in an unqualified and un- 
prepared state ; and as I have placed my idea of the necessary 
qualifications very high, all the time between now and my 
taking my cleg.ee will be little enough for these purposes 
alone. I often, however, cast a look of fond regret to the 
darling occupations of my younger hours, and the tears rush 
into my eyes, as I fancy I see the few wild flowers of poetic 
genius with which I have been blessed withering with neglect. 
Poetry has been to me something more than amusement ; it 
has been a cheering companion when I have had no other to 
fly to, and a delightful solace when consolation has been in 
some measure needful. I cannot, therefore, discard so old and 
faithful a friend without deep regret, especially when I reflect 
that, stung by my ingratitude, he may desert me for ever ! 
* * * * 

"With regard to your intended publication, you do me too 



HENRY KIKKE WHITE. 123 

much, honour by inserting my puerilities along with such good 
company as I know I shall meet there. I wish I could pre- 
sent you with some sonnets worthy of your work. I have 
boked back amongst my old papers, and find a few verses 
uader that name, which were written between the time when 
'Clifton Grove" was sent to the press and its final appear- 
ance. The looking over these papers has recalled a little of 
my old warmth, and I have scribbled some lines, which, as 
they owe their rise to your letter, I may fairly (if I have room) 
present to you. I cannot read the sonnets which I have 
found amongst my papers with pleasure, and therefore I shall 
not presume to show them to you. I shall anxiously expect 
the publication of your work. 

I shall be in Cambridge next month, being admitted a sizar 
at St. John's. Trinity would have suited my plans better, but 
the expenses of that college are greater. 

With thanks for your kind remembrance of me, 1 remain, 
Dear Sir, 
Very respectfully and thankfully yours, 

H. K. White. 

Yes, my stray steps have wander' d, wander'd far 
Prom thee, and long, heart-soothing Poesy ! 
And many a flower, which in the passing time 
My heart hath register' d, nipp'd by the chill 
Of undeserv'd neglect, hath shrunk and died. 
Heart-soothing Poesy ! — Tho' thou hast ceas'd 
To hover o'er the many voiced strings 
Of my long silent lyre, yet thou canst still 
Call the warm tear from its thrice hallow'd cell, 
And with recalled images of bliss 
Warm my reluctant heart. — Yes, I would throw, 
Once more would throw, a quick and hurried hand 
O'er the responding chords. — It hath not ceas'd — 
It cannot, will not cease ; the heavenly warmth 
Plays round my heart, and mantles o'er my cheek ; 
Still, tho' unbidden, plays. — Pair Poesy ! 
The summer and the spring, the wind and rain, 



124 LETTEES OF 

Sunshine and storm, with various interchange, 

Have mark'd full many a day, and week, and month, 

Since by dark wood, or hamlet far retir'd, 

Spell-struck, with thee I loiter' d. — -Sorceress ! 

I cannot burst thy bonds ! — It is but lift 

Thy blue eyes to that deep bespangled vault, 

"Wreathe thy enchanted tresses round thine arm, 

And mutter some obscure and charmed rhyme, 

And I could follow thee, on thy night's work, 

Up to the regions of thrice-chastened fire, 

Or in the caverns of the ocean flood, 

Thrid the light mazes of thy volant foot. 

Yet other duties call me, and mine ear 

Must turn away from the high minstrelsy 

Of thy soul-trancing harp, unwillingly 

Must turn away ; — there are severer strains 

(And surely they are sweet as ever smote 

The ear of spirit, from this mortal coil 

Releas'd and disembodied), there are strains 

Forbid to all, save those whom solemn thought, 

Thro' the probation of revolving years, 

And mighty converse with the spirit of truth, 

Have purged and purified. — To these my soul 

Aspireth ; and to this sublimer end 

I gird myself, and climb the toilsome steep 

With patient expectation. — Yea, sometimes 

Foretaste of bliss rewards me ; and sometimes 

Spirits unseen upon my footsteps wait, 

And minister strange music, which doth seem 

Now near, now distant, now on high, now low, 

Then swelling from all sides, with bliss complete, 

And full fruition filling all the soul. 

Surely such ministry, tho' rare, may soothe 

The steep ascent, and cheat the lassitude 

Of toil ; and but that my fond heart 

Reverts to day-dreams of the summer gone, 

When by clear fountain, or embowered brake, 

I lay a listless muser, prizing far 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 125 

Above all other lore, the poet's theme ; 

But for such recollections I could brace 

My stubborn spirit for the arduous path 

Of science unregretting ; eye afar 

Philosophy upon her steepest height, 

And with bold step, and resolute attempt, 

Pursue her to the innermost recess, 

Where thron'd in light she sits, the Queen of Truth. 

These verses form nearly the only poetical effort of this year. 
Pardon their imperfections. 



TO MR. B. HADDOCK. 

St. John's, Oct. 18th, 1805. 
My dear Ben, 

I am at length finally settled in my rooms, and, according 
to my promise, I write to you to tell you so. I did not feel 
quite comfortable at first here ; but I now begin to feel at 
home, and relish my silent and thoughtful cup of tea more 
than ever. Amongst our various occupations, that of attend- 
ing chapel is to me not the least irksome, for the service is 
read in general below the span of my auditory nerve ; but 
when they chaunt, I am quite charmed, for our organ is fine, 
and the voices are good. This is, however, only on high days 
and festivals, in which number the present day is to be 
reckoned (St. Luke's). 

My mathematical studies do not agree with me, and you 
may satisfy yourself I shall never be a senior wrangler. Many 
men come up with knowledge enough for the highest honours, 
and how can a man be expected to keep up with them who 
starts without any previous fund? Our lectures begin on 
Monday, and then I shall know more of college difficulties. 

My rooms are in the top story of the farthest court of 
St. John's (which you perhaps remember) near the cloisters. 
They are light, and tolerably pleasant ; though, as there was 
no furniture in them, and I have not yet bought many neces- 
sary articles, they look very bare. Your phiz over the 



126 LETTERS OF 

chhnney-piece has been recognised by two of my fellow- 
students : the one recollected its likeness to Mr. Maddock, 
of Magdalene ; and the other said it was like a young man 
whom he had seen with Mr. Maddock, and whom he supposed 
to be his brother. 

Of my new acquaintances, I have become intimate with a 

Mr. , who, I hope, will be senior wrangler. He is a very 

serious and friendly man, and a man of no common mathe- 
matical talents. He lives in the same court with me. 
Besides him, I know of none whose friendship I should value ; 
and, including him, no one whose hand I would take in 
preference to that of my old friend ; so long as I see my old 
friend with his old face. When you have learned to be other 
than what you are, I shall not regret that B. M. is no longer 
my friend, but that my former friend is now no more. 
* * * * 

I walked through Magdalene the other day, and I could not 
help anticipating the time when I should come to drink your 
tea, and swallow your bread and butter, within the sacred walls. 
You must know our college was originally a convent for Black 
Eriars ; and if a man of the reign of Henry the Sixth were to 
peep out of his grave, in an adjoining churchyard, and look 
into our portals, judging by our dress and appearance, he 
might deem us a convent of Black Eriars still. Some of our 
brethren, it is true, would seem of very unsightly bulk ; but 
many of them, with eyes sunk into their heads, from poring 
over the mathematics, might pass very well for the fasting and 
mortified shadows of penitent monks. 

With regard to the expenses of our college, I can now 
speak decisively ; and I can tell you, that I shall be here an 
independent man. I am a Senior Sizar, under very favourable 
circumstances, and I believe, the profits of my situation will 
nearly equal the actual expenses of the college. But this is 
no rule for other colleges. I am on the best side (there are 
two divisions) of St. John's, and the expenses here are less 
than anywhere else in the university. 

I have this week written some very elaborate verses for a 
college prize, and I have at length learned that I am not qualified 



HENRY KIRXE WHITE. 127 

for a competitor, not being a Lady Margaret's scholar : so that 
I have lost my labour. Compared with the other men of this 
large college, I find I am a respectable classic, and if I had 
time to give to the languages, I think I should ultimately suc- 
ceed in them in no small degree ; but the fates forbid ; mathe- 
matics I must read, and in mathematics I know I never shall 
excel. These are harassing reflections for a poor young man 
gaping for a fellowship ! 

If I choose, I could find a good deal of religious society 
here, but I must not indulge myself with it too much. Mr. 
Simeon's preaching strikes me much. 

* * * * 

I beg you will answer a thousand such questions as these 
without my asking them. 

This is a letter of intelligence : — Next shall be sentiment, 
(or Gothic arch, for they are synonymous according to Mr. M.) 



TO HIS MOTHER. 

St. John's, October 26th, 1805. 
Dear Mothee, 

* * * * 

You seem to repose so little confidence in what I say with 
regard to my college expenses, that I am not encouraged to 
hope you will give me much credit for what I am about to say ; 
namely, that had I no money at all, either from my friends or 
Mr. Simeon, I could manage to live here. My situation is so 
very favourable, and the necessary expenses so very few, that 
I shall want very little more than will suffice for clothes and 
books. I have got the bills of Mr. , a sizar of this col- 
lege, now before me, and from them, and his own account, I 
will give you a statement of what my College bills will 

amount to. 

* * # * 

Thus my college expenses will not be more than twelve or 
fifteen pounds a year at the most. I shall not have any occa- 
sion for the whole sum I have a claim upon Mr. Simeon for, 



128 LETTERS OF 

and if things go well, I shall be able to live without being 

dependent on any one. The Mr. , whose bills I have 

borrowed, has been at College three years. He came over 

from with ten pounds in his pocket, and has no friends or 

any income or emolument whatever except what he receives 
for his sizarship : yet he does support himself, and that, too, 
very genteelly. It is only men's extravagance that makes 
college life so expensive. There are sizars at St. John's who 
spend 1501. a year; but they are gay, dissipated men, who 
choose to be sizars in order that they may have more money 
to lavish on their pleasures. Our dinners and suppers cost us 
nothing ; and if a man choose to eat milk breakfasts, and go 
without tea, he may live absolutely for nothing ; for his College 
emoluments will cover the rest of his expenses. Tea is indeed 
almost superfluous, since we do not rise from dinner till half- 
past three, and the supper bell rings a quarter before nine. 
Our mode of living is not to be complained of, for the table is 
covered with all possible variety ; and on feast days, which 
our fellows take care are pretty frequent, we have wine. 

You will now, I trust, feel satisfied on this subject, and will 
no longer give yourself unnecessary uneasiness on my account. 
* * * * 

I was unfortunate enough to be put into unfurnished rooms, 
so that my furniture will cost me a little more than I expected; 
I suppose about fifteen pounds, or perhaps not quite so much. 
I sleep on a hair mattress, which I find just as comfortable as 
a bed ; it only cost me four pounds along with blankets, coun- 
terpane, and pillows, &c. I have three rooms — a sitting-room, 
a bed-room, and a kind of scullery or pantry. My sitting- 
room is very light and pleasant, and, what does not often 
happen, the walls are in good case, having been lately stained 
green. 

I must commission my sister to make me a pair of letter- 
racks, but they must not be fine, because my furniture is not 
very fine. I think the old shape (or octagons one upon 
another) is the neatest, and white the best colour. I wish 
Maria would paint vignettes in the squares, because then I 
should see how her drawing proceeds. You must know that 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 129 

these are not intended as mere matters of show, but are 
intended to answer some purpose; there are so many par- 
ticular places to attend on particular days, that unless a man 
is very cautious, he has nothing else to do than to pay forfeits 
for non-attendance. A few cards and a little rack will be a 
short way of helping the memory. 

I think I must get a supply of sugar from London ; for if I 
buy it here it will cost me Is. §d. per pound, which is rather 
too much. I have got tea enough to last the term out. 
#• * & * 

Although you may be quite easy on the subject of my future 
support, yet you must not form splendid ideas of my success 
at the University, for the lecturers all speak so low, and we 
sit at such a distance, that I cannot hear a syllable. I have, 
therefore, no more advantage than if I were studying at home. 

I beg we may have no more doubts and fears, at least on 

my score. I think I am now very near being off your hands ; 

and, since my education at the University is quite secure, you 

need not entertain gloomy apprehensions for the future : my 

maintenance will, at all events, be decent and respectable ; and 

* you must not grieve yourself because I cannot be as rich as an 

alderman. 

* * * * 

Do not show this letter to all comers, nor leave it about, 
for people will have a very mean idea of University education 
when they find it costs so little ; but if they are saucy on the 
subject, tell them — I have a lord just under me. 



TO THE REV. JOHN DASHWOOD. 

St. John's, Oct. 26th, 1805. 
Dear Sir, 

It is now many months since I wrote to you, and I have 
not received any answer. I should not have troubled you 
with this letter, but that, considering how much I owe to you, 
I thought the rules and observances of strict etiquette might 
with moral propriety be dispensed with. 



130 LETTERS OF 

Suffer me therefore to tell you, that I am quietly and com- 
fortably settled at St. John's ; silently conforming myself to 
the habits of college life, and pursuing my studies with such 
moderation as I think necessary for my health. I feel very 
much at home, and tolerably happy; although the peculiar 
advantages of University education will in a great measure be 
lost to me, since there is not one of the lecturers whom I am 
able to hear. 

My literary ambition is, I think, now fast subsiding, and a 
better emulation springing up in its room. I conceive that, 
considering the disadvantages under which I labour, very little 
can be expected from me in the Senate House. I shall not, 
however, remit my exertions, but shall at least strive to acquit 
myself with credit, though I cannot hope for the more splendid 
honours. 

With regard to my college expenses, I have the pleasure to 
inform you, that my situation is so favourable that I shall be 
obliged, in strict rectitude, to wave the offers of many of my 
friends. I shall not even need the sum Mr. Simeon men- 
tioned after the first year ; and it is not impossible that 1 may 
be able to live without any assistance at all. I confess I feel 
pleasure in the thought of this, not through any vain pride of 
independence, but because I shall then give a more unbiassed 
testimony to the truth, than if I were supposed to be bound 
to it by any ties of obligation or gratitude. I shall always 
feel as much indebted for intended, as for actually afforded 
assistance ; and though I should never think a sense of thank- 
fulness an oppressive burthen, yet I shall be happy to evince 
it, when, in the eyes of the world, the obligation to it has been 

discharged. 

% % % * 

I hope you will ere long relieve me from the painful thought 
that I lie under your displeasure ; and believe me, 
Dear Sir, 
Most sincerely and affectionately yours, 

R K. White. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 131 



TO MR. CHARLESWORTH. 



Cum diutius a te fnistra litteras expectassem memet in 
aniinum tuuni revocare aut iteram otio obtrudere nolebam. 

Penes te erat aut nobiscum denuo per litteras colioqui aut 

familiaritateni et necessitatem nostram silentio dimittere. Hoc 

te praetulisse jam diu putaveram, cum epistola tua mini in 

manus venit. 

% % % % 

Has litteras scribebam intra sanctos Sanctissimi Johannis 
Collegii muros, in celeberriina hac nostra academia Can- 
tabrigae. 

Hie tranquillitate denique litterarum propria, summa cum 
voluptate conjunct a fruor. Hie omnes discendi vias, omnes 
sciential rationes indago et persequor : nescio quid tandem 
evasurus. Certe si parum proficio, mini culpae jure datum 
erit ; modo valetudo me sinat. 

Haud tamen vereor, si verum dicere cogor, ut satis proficiam : 
quanquam infirmis auribus aliorum lecturas vix unquam audire 
queam. In Matbematicis parum adhuc profeci :. utpote qui 
perarduum certamen cum eruditissimis quibusque in veterum 
unguis et moribus versatis jam-jam sim initurus. 

His in studiis pro mea perbrevi sane et tanquam hestema 
consuetudine haud mediocriter sum versatus. 

Latine minus eleganter scribere videor quam Greece : neque 
vero eadem voluptate scriptores Latinos lectito quam Grsecos : 
cum autem omnem industria3 mea3 vim Homanis litteris con- 
tulerim baud dubito quin faciles mini et propitias eas faciam. 

Te etiam revocatum velim ad haec elegantia deliciasque litte- 
rarum. Quid enim accommodatius videri potest aut ad animum 
quotidianis curis laboribusque oppressum reficiendum et recre- 
andum aut ad mentem et facultates ingenii acuendas quam 
exquisita et expolita summaque vi et acumine ingenii elaborata 
veterum scriptorum opera ? 

* * * * 

K 2 



122 LETTERS OF 

TO HIS BROTHER JAMES. 

St. John's, November, 1805. 

My deab James, 

You do not know how anxious I am to hear how you go 
on in all things ; and whether you still persist in steadfastness 
and seriousness. I know, my dear lad, that your heart is too 
good to run into actual vice, yet I fear the example of gay and 
wicked persons may lead you to think lightly of religion, and 
then who knows where it may end ? Neville, however, will 
always be your director, and I trust you conceal none, even 
of your very thoughts, from him. Continue, James, to solicit 
the fatherly superintendence of your Maker, night and morning. 
I shall not fear for you, while I am assured you do this fervently, 
and not in a hurried or slovenly manner. With constant prayer, 
we have nothing to fear from the temptations of the world, the 
flesh, and the devil : God will bring us through it, and will 
save us in the midst of peril. If we consider the common con- 
dition of man's life, and the evils and misfortunes to which we 
are daily exposed, we have need to bless God every moment 
for sparing us, and to beg of him, that when the day of mis- 
fortune comes, (and come it must, sooner or later, to all,) we 
may be prepared with Christian fortitude to endure the shock. 
What a treasure does the religious man possess in this, that 
when everything else fails, he has God for his refuge ; and can 
look to a world where he is sure, through Christ Jesus, that he 
will not be disappointed ! 

I do not much heed to what place of worship you may go, 
so as you are but a serious and regular attendant. Permit me, 
however, to explain the true nature of the question with regard 
to the church liturgy, in order that you may be the better able 
to judge. 

You know from the epistles of St. Paul, that soon after the 
death of Jesus Christ, there were regular churches established 
in various places, as at Corinth, Galatia, Thessalonica, &c. &c. 
Now, we are not certain that they used forms of prayers at all 
in these churches, much more that any part of ours was used 
in their time ; but it is certain, that in the year of our Lord 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 133 

286, there was a general liturgy in use throughout all the 
churches of Christ. Now, if in that early time, when Christians 
vere much more like the apostles than they are now, they 
used a form of prayer in the churches, it is fair to conclude 
that the practice was not unscriptural ■ besides, at this very 
time, St. John, the Evangelist, had not been dead above 100 
years, and one of Ms disciples, though at a very great age, was 
actually living. St. Chrysostom, who lived above 354 years 
after Christ, wrote some of our prayers, and the greater part 
of them have been in general use for a thousand years. About 
the year 286, about one thousand five hundred years ago, 
immense multitudes of savages, the Goths and Vandals, being 
enticed by the fertility of the Italian country, and the riches 
of its possessors, came down from Germany, Hungary, and all 
the northern parts of Europe, upon the Roman empire, then 
enfeebled with luxuiy, and endeavoured to gain possession of 
the south. They were at first repulsed ; but as fast as they 
were defeated or slain, new hordes, allured by the accounts 
which their countrymen gave of its opulence and abundance, 
succeeded in their stead ; till the forces of the Romans grew 
unequal to the contest, and gradually gave way to the invaders, 
who, wherever they came, reduced everything to a state of 
barbarism. The Christians, about this time, were beginning 
to prevail in the Roman territories, and under the Emperor 
Constantine, who was the first Christian king, were giving the 
blow to idolatry. But the savage intolerance of the invaders, 
who reduced the conquered to abject slavery, burnt books 
wherever they found them, and even forbade the cultivation of 
learning, reduced them to the utmost distress. At this time 
they wrote and used in their churches, all that part of the 
litany which begins with the Lord's prayer, and ends with the 
prayer of St. Chrysostom. Thus you see how venerably ancient 
are many of our forms, and how little they merit that contempt 
which ignorant people pour upon them. Yery holy men (men 
now we have every reason to believe in heaven) composed 
them, and they have been used from age to age ever since, in 
our churches, with but few alterations. But you will say they 
were used by the Roman Catholics, who are a very superstitious 



134 LETTERS OF 

and bigoted set of people. This is no objection at all, because 
the Roman Catholics were not always so bad, and what is a 
proof of this is, that there once was no other religion in the 
world ; and we cannot think that church very wicked, which 
God chose, once, to make the sole guardian of his truth. There 
have been many excellent and pious men among the Roman 
Catholics, even at the time their public faith was corrupted. 

You may have heard of the reformation : you know it was 
brought about by Luther and Calvin, in the sixteenth century, 
about 1536. Now Calvin is the founder of the sect of Inde- 
pendants, such as those who meet at Castlegate, yet he had a 
hand in framing the liturgy, which, with alterations, we now 
use, and he selected it in part from the liturgy of the Roman 
church; because they had received it from the primitive 
christians, who were more immediately taught by the apostles. 
The reformation means that change in religion, which was 
brought about, as said before, by Luther and Calvin, in conse- 
quence of the abuses and errors which had crept into the 
Romish church. 

You may possibly think the responses, or answers of the 
clerk and people, rather ridiculous. This absurdity, however, 
generally consists more in the manner than in the thing. They 
were intended to be pronounced aloud by the people, and were 
used as a means to keep their attention awake, and show their 
sincerity. At the time this form was invented, not one man 
in five or six hundred could read; and these repetitions 
answered another purpose, of fixing important ejaculations and 
sentences in their minds. In these days the same necessity 
does not exist ; but we still retain the form on account of its 
other advantages, and through reverence of such an antiquity, 
as almost vouches for its being acceptable to God, who has 
permitted it to be used by the wisest and best of men for so 
long a period. 

I think I have now nearly tired you. Pray write to me 
soon, and believe me, 

My dear James, 

Your very affectionate Brother, 

II. K. White. 



My dear, Ben, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 135 

TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 
St. John's College, Cambridge, Nov. 10, 1805. 
* * * * 



The reasons why I said mathematical studies did not agree 
with me, were these — that I am more inclined to classical 
pursuits, and that, considering what disadvantages I lie under 
in being deaf, I am afraid I cannot excel in them. I have 
at present entirely laid them aside, as I am reading for the 
university scholarship, which will soon be vacant : there are 
expected to be thirteen or fourteen candidates, some of whom 
are of great note from Eton ; and I have as much expectation 
of gaining it, as of being elected supreme magus over the 
mysteries of Mithra. The scholarship is of no value in itself 
adequate to the labour of reading for it, but it is the greatest 
classical honour in the university, and is a pretty sure road to 
a fellowship. My classical abilities here have attracted some 
attention, and my Latin Themes, in particular, have drawn 
forth inquiries from the tutors as to the place of my educa- 
tion. The reason why I have determined to sit for the scholar- 
ship is this, that, to have simply been a candidate for it esta- 
blishes a man's character, as many of the first classics in the 
university have failed of it. 

% * * % 

I begin now to feel at home in my little room, and I wish 
you were here to see how snugly I sit by my blazing fire in 
the cold evenings. College certainly has charms, though I 
have a few things rankling at my heart which will not let me 
be quite happy. Ora, Ora, jpro me. 

This last sentence of mine is of a curious tendency, to be 
sure ; for who is there of mortals who has not something 
rankling at his heart, which will not let him be happy ? 

It is curious to observe the different estimations two men 
make of one another's happiness. Each of them surveys the 
external appearance of the other's situation, and comparing 
them with the secret disquieting circumstances of his own, 
thinks him happier ; and so it is that all the world over, be 



136 LETTERS OF 

we favoured as we may, there is always something which 
others have, and which we ourselves have not, necessary to 
the completion of our felicity. I think, therefore, upon the 
whole, there is no such thing as positive happiness in this 
world ; and a man can only be deemed felicitous, as he is in 
comparison less affected with positive evil. It is our business, 
therefore, to support ourselves under existing ills, with the 
anticipation of future blessings. Life, with all its bitters, is a 
draught soon drunk ; and though we have many changes to 
fear on this side the grave, beyond it we know of none. 

Your life and mine are now marked out ; and our calling is 
of such a nature, that it ill becomes us to be too much affected 
with circumstances of an external nature. It is our duty to 
bear our evils with dignified silence. Considering our superior 
consolations, they are small in comparison with those of others; 
and though they may cast a sadness both over our hearts and 
countenances, which time may not easily remove, yet they 
must not interfere with our active duties, nor affect our con- 
duct towards others, except by opening our heart with wanner 
sympathy to their woes, their wants, and miseries. 

As you have begun in your religious path, my beloved 
friend, persevere. Let your love to the crucified continue as 
pure as it was at first, while your zeal is more tempered, and 
your piety more rational and mature. I hope yet to live to 
see you a pious and respected parish priest : as for me — I hope 
I shall do my duty as I have strength and ability, and I hope 
I shall always continue, what I now profess myself, 
Your friend and brother, 

H. K. "White. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

St. John's, Cambridge, 10th Dec, 1805. 
Dear Neville, 

I am so truly hurt that you should again complain of my 
long silence, that I cannot refrain from sending this by the 
post, although I shall send you a parcel to-niorrow. The 
reason of my not having sent you the cravats sooner, is the 



HENRY KIPvKE WHITE. 137 

difficulty I have found in getting them together, since part 
were in the hands of my laundress, and part dirty. I do not 
know whether you will find them right, as my linen is in other 
respects deficient, and I have a cause at issue with my washer- 
woman on that score. This place is, literally, a den of 
thieves ; my bed-maker, whom we call a gyp, from a Greek 
word signifying a vulture, runs away with everything he can 
lay his hands on, and when he is caught, says he only borrows 
them. He stole a sack of coals a week, as regularly as the 
week came, when first I had fires ; but I have stopped the run 
of this business, by a monstrous large padlock, which is hung 
to the staple of the bin. His next trick was to bring me four 
candles for a pound instead of six ; and this trade he carried 
on for some time, until 1 accidentally discovered the trick : he 
then said he had always brought me right until that time, and 
that then he had brought me fives, but had given Mr. H. (a 
man on the same staircase) one, because lie thought he under 
stood I had borrowed one of him : on inquiring of Mr. H., he 
had not given him one according to his pretence; but the 
gentleman was not caught yet, for he declared he had lent one 
to the bed-maker of Lord B. in the rooms below. His neatest 
trick is going to the grocer every now and then for articles in 
your name, which he converts to his own use. I have stopped 
him here too, by keeping a check-book. Tea, sugar, and 
pocket-handkerchiefs are his natural perquisites, and I verily 
believe he will soon be filling his canister out of mine before 
my face. There is no redress for all this ; for if you change, 
you are no better off; they are all alike. They know you 
regard them as a pack of thieves, and their only concern is to 
steal so dexterously that they may not be confronted with 

direct proof. 

* * * * 

Do not be surprised at any apparent negligence in my 
letters ; my time has so many calls for it, that half my duties 
are neglected. Our college examination comes on next Tues- 
day, and it is of the utmost moment that I acquit myself well 
there. A month after will follow the scholarship examination. 
My time therefore, at present, will scarcely permit the per- 



138 LETTERS OF 

formance of my promise with respect to the historical papers, 
but I have them in mind, and I am much bent on perfecting 
them in a manner superior to their commencement. 

I would fain write to my bi other James, who must by no 
means think I forget him ; but I fear I shall see him before I 
write to him, on the accounts above stated. The examination 
for the scholarship is distinct from that of our college, which 
is a very important one; and while I am preparing for the 
one, I necessarily neglect the other. 

I wish very much to hear from you on religious topics ; and 
remember, that although my leisure at present will not allow 
me to write to you all I wish, yet it will be the highest gratifi- 
cation to me to read your letters, especially when they relate 
to your christian progress. I beseech you not to relax, as you 
value your peace of mind, and the repose of a dying bed. I 
wish you would take in the Christian Observer, which is a 
cheap work, and will yield you much profitable amusement. 
I have it here for nothing, and can send you up some of the 
numbers, if you like. 

Remember, and let my mother know, that I have no chance 
for the university scholarship, and that I only sit for the pur- 
pose of letting the University know that I am a decent pro- 
ficient in the languages. 

There is one just vacant, which I can certainly get, but I 
should be obliged to go to Peter-house in consequence, which 
will not be advisable ; but I must make inquiries about it. I 
speak with certainty on this subject, because it is restricted to 
candidates who are in their first year, amongst whom I should 
probably be equal to any. The others are open to bachelors. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE, 

St. John's, December ICtk, 1805. 
Deah Neville, 

In consequence of an alteration in my plans, I shall have 
the pleasure of seeing you at the latter end of this week, and 
I wish you so to inform my aunt. The reason of this change 






HEN LI Y KIRTCE WHITE. 139 

is this, that I have over-read myself, and I find it absolutely 
necessary to take some relaxation, and to give np study 
entirely, for a short time, in order that I may go on better 
hereafter. 

This has been occasioned by our college lectures, which I 
had driven too late, on account of my being occupied in pre- 
parations for the University scholarship examination, and then 
I was obliged to fag so hard for the college lectures, as the 
time drew on, that I could take no exercise. Thus I soon 
knocked myself up, and I now labour under a great general 
relaxation, and much nervous weakness. 

Change of ah* and place will speedily remove these symp- 
toms, and I shall certainly give up the University scholarship, 
rather than injure my health. 

Do not mention these things to my mother, as she will make 
it a cause of unnecessary uneasiness. 

* ^ * * 



TO HIS BKOTHER NEVILLE. 

St. John's, December 19th, 1805. 
Dear Neville, 

I was sorry to receive your letter, desiring me to defer 
my journey; and I am sorry to be forced to tell you the reason 
of my coming to town sooner than you wish me. I have had 
an attack of my old nervous complaint, and my spirits have 
been so wretchedly shattered, that my surgeon says I shall 
never be well till I have removed somewhere, where I can have 
society and amusement. It is a very distressing thing to be- 
lli in college, where you have no attendance, and very little 
society. Mr. Catton, my tutor, has prevailed upon me, by 
pressing wishes, to go into the hall to be examined with the 
men of my year. I have gone through two examinations, and 
I have one to come ; after that is over, he told me I had better 
go to my friends directly, and relieve myself with complete 
relaxation from study. Under these circumstances, the object 
of my journey to London will be answered, by the mere resi- 
dence in my aunt's family, and by a cessation from reading. 



140 LETTERS OF 

While I am here, I am wretched ; I cannot read, the slightest 
application makes me faint ; I have very little society, and that 
is quite a force npon my friends. I am determined, therefore, 
to leave this place on Saturday morning, and you may rest 
satisfied that the purpose of my journey will be fully accom- 
plished by the prattle of my aunt's little ones, and her care. 1 
am not an invalid, since I have no sickness or ailment, but I 
am weak and low-spirited, and unable to read. The last is the 
greatest calamity I can experience of a worldly nature. My 
mind preys upon itself. Had it not been for Leeson, of Clare 
Hall, I could not have gone through this week. I have been 
examined twice, and almost without looking over the subjects, 
and I have given satisfaction, but I am obliged to be kept up 
by strong medicines to endure this exertion, which is very 
great. 

I am happy, however, to tell you, I am better ; and 
Mr. Parish, the surgeon, says, a few days will re-establish 
me when I get into another scene, and into society. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 

London, December 24th, 1805. 
My dear Mother, 

You will, no doubt, have been surprised at not having heard 
from me for so long a time, and you will be no less so to find 
that I am writing this at my aunt's, in this far-famed city. I 
have been so much taken up with our college examinations of 
late, that I could not find time to write even to you, and I am 
now come to town, in order to give myself every relaxation 
and amusement I can ; for I had read so much at Cambridge, 
that my health was rather affected, and I was advised to give 
myself the respite of a week or a fortnight, in order to recover 
strength. I arrived in town on Saturday night, and should 
have written yesterday, in order to remove any uneasiness you 
might feel on my account, but there is no post on Sunday. 

I have now to communicate some agreeable intelligence to 
you. Last week being the close of the Michaelmas term, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 141 

and our college examination, our tutor, who is a very great 
man, sent for me, and told me he was sorry to hear I had 
been ill : he understood I was low-spirited, and wished to 
know whether I frightened myself about college expenses. I 
told him, that they did contribute some little to harass me, 
because I was as yet uncertain what the bills of my first year 
would amount to. His answer was to this purpose : " Mr. 
White, I beg you will not trouble yourself on this subject : 
your emoluments will be very great, very great indeed, and I 
will take care your expenses are not very burthensome — leave 
that to me I" He advised me to go to my friends, and amuse 
myself with a total cessation from reading. After our college 
examination (which lasted six days) was over, he sent for me 
again, and repeated what he had said before about the expenses 
of the college; and he added, that if I went on as I had 
begun, and made myself a good scholar, I might rely on being 
provided for by the college ; for if the county should be full, 
and they could not elect me a fellow, they would recommend 
me to another college, where they would be very glad to 
receive a clever man from their hands ; or, at all events, they 
cauld always get a young man a situation as a private tutor 
in a nobleman's family; or could put him into some hand- 
some way of preferment. " We make it a rule (he said) of 
providing for a clever man, whose fortune is small ; and you 
may therefore rest assured, Mr. White, that after you have 
taken your degree, you will be provided with a genteel com- 
petency by the college" He begged I would be under no 
apprehensions on these accounts : he shook hands with me 
very affectionately, and wished me a speedy recovery. These 
attentions from a man like the tutor of St. John's are very 
marked ; and Mr. Catton is well known for doing more than 
he says. I am sure, after these assurances from a principal of 
so respectable a society as St. John's, I have nothing more to 
f ^ar ; and I hope you will never repine on my account again — 
according to every appearance, my lot in life is certain. 
* * * m 



142 LETTEES OF 



TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 

London, Xmas, 1805. 
My x>eae Ben, 

You would have had no reason to complain of my long 
silence, had I preferred my self -justification to your ease. I 
wrote you a letter, which now lies in my drawer at St. John's, 
but in such a weak state of body, and in so desponding and 
comfortless a tone of mind, that I knew it would give you 
pain, and therefore I chose not to send it. I have indeed been 
ill ; but, thanks to God, I am recovered. My nerves were 
miserably shattered by over-application, and the absence of all 
that could amuse, and the presence of many tilings which 
weighed heavy upon my spirits. TThen I found myself too ill 
to read, and too desponding to endure my own reflections, I 
discovered that it is really a miserable thing to be destitute 
of the soothing and supporting hand when nature most needs 
it. I wandered up and down from one man's room to another, 
and from one college to another; imploring society, a little 
conversation, and a little relief of the burthen which pressed 
upon my spirits ; and I am sorry to say, that those who, when 
I was cheerful and lively, sought my society with avidity, now, 
when I actually needed conversation, were too busy to grant 
it. Our college examination was then approaching, and I 
perceived with anguish that I had read for the university 
scholarship until I had barely time to get up our private 
subjects, and that as I was now too ill to read, all hope of 
getting through the examination with decent respectability 
was at an end. This was an additional grief. I went to our 
tutor, with tears in my eyes, and told him I must absent 
myself from the examination ; a step which would have pre- 
cluded me from a station amongst the prizemen until the 
second year. He earnestly entreated me to run the risk. My 
surgeon gave me strong stimulants and supporting medicines 
during the examination week, and I passed, I believe, one of 
the most respectable examinations amongst them. As soon 
as ever it was over, I left Cambridge by the advice of my 
surgeon and tutor, and I feel myself now pretty strong. J 
have given up the thought of sitting for the university 



HENTIY KrRKE WHITS. 143 

scholarship in consequence of my illness, as the course of my 
reading was effectually broken. In this place I have been 
much amused, and have been received with an attention in 
the literary circles which I neither expected nor deservecL 
But this does not affect me as it once would have done : my 
views are widely altered, and I hope that I shall in time learn 
to lay my whole heart at the foot of the cross. 

I have only one thing more to tell you of about my illness ; 
it is that I have found in a young man, with whom I had 
little acquaintance, that kind care and attention, which I 
looked for in vain from those who professed themselves my 

nearest friends. At a time when could not find leisure 

to devote a single evening to his sick friend, even when he 
earnestly implored it, William Leeson constantly, and even 
against my wishes, devoted every evening to the relieving of 
my melancholy, and the enlivening of my solitary hours. With 
the most constant and affectionate assiduity, he gave me my 
medicines, administered consolation to my broken spirits, and 
even put me to bed. 

vfc ?J? % 1SB 



TO MR. P. THOMPSON. 

London, 1st January, 1806. 

Sir, 

I owe it both to my feelings and my duty, that I should 
thank you for the kind inquiries you have thought it worth 
while to make concerning me and my affairs. I have just 
learned the purport of a letter received from you by Mr. 
Robinson, the bookseller ; and it is a pleasing task to me, at 
the same time that I express my sense of your benevolent 
concern in my behalf, to give you, myself, the information you 
require. 

The little volume which, considered as the production of a 
very young man, may have interested you, has not had a very- 
great sale, although it may have had as much countenance as 
it deserved. The last report I received from the publishers, 
was 450 sold. So far it has answered the expectations I had 
formed from it, that it has procured me the acquaintance, and 



144 LETTERS OF 

perhaps I may say the friendship, of men equally estimable fol 
their talents and their virtues. Rewarded by their counte- 
nance, I am by no means dissatisfied with my little book; 
indeed, I tliink its merits have, on the whole, rather been 
over-rated than otherwise, which I attribute to the lenity so 
readily afforded to the faults of youth, and to the promptitude 
with which benevolent minds give encouragement where en- 
couragement seems to be wanted. 

With regard to my personal concerns, I have succeeded in 
placing myself at Cambridge, and have already kept one term. 
My college is St. John's, where, in the rank of sizar, I shall 
probably be enabled to live almost independently of external 
support; but should I need that support, I have it in my 
power to draw on a friend, whose name I am not permitted to 
mention, for any sum not exceeding 30/. per annum. With 
habits of frugality, I shall never need this sum ; so that I am 
quite at ease with respect to my college expenses, and am at 
full leisure to pursue my studies with a free and vacant mind. 

I am at present in the great city, where I have come, in 
consequence of a little injudicious application, a suitor to 
health, variety, and amusement. In a few days I shall return 
to Cambridge, where (should you ever pass that way) I hope 
you will not forget that I reside there three-fourths of the 
year. It would, indeed, give me pleasure to say personally 
how much I am obliged by your inquiries. 

I hope you will put a favourable construction both on the 
minuteness and the length of this letter; and permit me to 
subscribe myself, 

Sir, veiy thankfully and obediently, yours, 

H. K. White. 



TO HIS AUNT. 

St. John's, Cambridge, Jan. 6, 1800. 

My deah Auxt, 

I am once more settled in my room at Cambridge ; but I 
am grown so idle and so luxurious since I have been under 
your hands that I cannot read with half my usual diligence. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 145 

I hope you concluded the Christmas holidays on Monday 
with the customary glee, and I hope my uncle was well enough 
to partake of your merriment. You must now begin your 
penitential days after so much riot and feasting; and with 
your three little prattlers around you, I am sure your evenings 
will now pleasantly by your own fire-side. Visiting and gaiety 
are very well by way of change, but there is no enjoyment so 
lasting as that of one's own family. Elizabeth will soon be 
old enough to amuse you with her conversation, and I trust 
you will take every opportunity of teaching her to put the 
right value on things, and to exercise her own good sense. It 
is amazing how soon a child may become a real comfort to its 
mother, and how much even young minds will form habits of 
affection towards those who treat them like reasonable beings, 
capable of seeing the right and the wrong of themselves. °A 
very little girl may be made to understand that there are some 
tilings which are pleasant and amusing, which are still less 
worthy of attention than others more disagreeable and painful. 
Children are, in general, fond of little ornaments of dress, 
especially females; and though we may allow them to be 
elevated with their trifling splendours, yet we should not 
forget toremind them that, although people may admire their 
dress, yet they will admire them much more for their good 
sense, sweetness of temper, and generosity of disposition. 
Children are very quick-sighted to discern whether you 
approve of them, and they are very proud of your approbation 
when they think you bestow it: we should therefore be careful 
how we praise them, and for what. If we praise their dress, 
it should be slightly, and as if it were a matter of very small 
importance; but we should never let any mark of consideration, 
or goodness of heart, in a child, pass by without some token 
of approbation. Still we must never praise a child too much, 
nor too warmly, for that would beget vanity; and when praise 
is moderately yet judiciously bestowed, a child values it more, 
because it feels that it is just. I don't like punishments. You 
will never torture a child into duty ; but a sensible child will 
dread the frown of a judicious mother, more than all the rods, 
dark rooms, anr! scolding schoolmistresses in the universe. 

L 



146 LETTERS OP 

We should teach our children to make friends of us, to com- 
municate all their thoughts to us ; and, while their innocent 
prattle will amuse us, we shall find many opportunities of 
teaching them important truths, almost without knowing it. 

I admire all your little ones, and I hope to see Elizabeth 
one day an accomplished and sensible girl Give my love to 
them, and tell them not to forget their cousin Henry, who 
wants a housekeeper at college ! 

Though I have written so long a letter, I am, indeed, 
offended with you, and I dare say you know the reason very- 
well. 

* * * * 

P. S. Whenever you are disposed to write a letter, think of 
me. 



TO MR. B. HADDOCK. 

St. John's, February 17th, 1800. 
Deah Ben, 

9 * * * 

Do not think that I am reading hard ; I believe it is all 
over with that. I have had a recurrence of my old complaint 
within this last four or ^.ve days, which has half unnerved me 
for everything. The state of my health is really miserable ; 
I am well and lively in the morning, and overwhelmed with 
nervous horrors in the evening. I do not know how to pro- 
ceed with regard to my studies— a very slight overstretch of 
the mind in the day-time occasions me not only a sleepless 
night, but a night of gloom and horror. The systole and 
diastole of my heart seem to be playing at ball, — the stake — 
my life. I can only say the game is not yet decided. I allude 
to the violence of the palpitation. 

I am going to mount the Gog-magog hills this morning in 
quest of a good night's sleep. The Gog-magog hills for my 
body, and the Bible for my mind, are my only medicines. I 
am sorry to say that neither are quite adequate. Cui, igitur, 
dandum est vitio ? Mild jprorsus. I hope, as the summer 
comes, my spirits (which have been with the swallows a 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 147 

winter's journey) will come with it. When my spirits are 
restored, my health will be restored— thefons mail lies there. 
Give me serenity and equability of mind, and all will be well 
there. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

- ^ St. John's, 11th March, 1800. 

Dear Neville, 

* * * % 

^ I hope you read Mason on Self-knowledge now and then. 
It is a useful book; and it will help you greatly in framing 
your spirit to the ways of humility, piety, and peace. Reading 
occasional meditation, and constant prayer, will infallibly guide 
you to happiness, as far as we can he happy here ; and will 
help you on your way to that blessed abode, where I hope, 
ardently hope, we shall all meet hereafter in the assembly of 
the saints. Go coolly and deliberately, but determinately, to 
the work of your salvation. Do nothing here in a hurry ; 
deliberate upon everything; take your steps cautiously, yet 
with a simple reliance on the mercy of your God and Saviour; 
and wherever you see your duty lie, lose no time in acting up 
to it. This is the only way to arrive at comfort in your 
Christian career ; and the constant observance of this maxim 
will, with the assistance of God, smooth your way with quiet- 
ness and repose, even to the brink of eternity, and beyond the 
gulf that bounds it. 

I had almost dropped the idea of seeing Nottingham this 
next long vacation, as my stay in Cambridge may be impor- 
tantly useful; but I think, now, I shall go down for my 
health's, and more particularly for my mother's sake, whom my 
presence will comfort, and perhaps help. I should be glad to 
moor all my family in the harbour of religious trust, and in the 
calm seas of religious peace. These concerns are apt, at times, 
to escape me ; but they now press much upon my heart, and 
I think it is my first duty to see that my family are safe in the 
most important of all affairs. 

* * * # 

l 2 



148 LETTERS OF 



TO THE HEV. J. PLUMBTRE. 

St. John's, March 12th, 1806. 
Dear Sir, 

I hope you Trill excuse the long delay which I have made 
in sending the song. I am afraid I have trespassed on your 
patience, if indeed so unimportant a subject can have given 
you any thought at all. If you think it worth while to send 
the song to your publisher, I should prefer the omission of the 
writer's name, as the insertion of it would only be a piece of 
idle ostentation, and answer no end. My name will neither 
give credit to the verses, nor the verses confer honour on my 
name. 

It will give me great pleasure to hear that your labours have 

been successful in the town of , where, I fear, much is to 

be done. I am one of those who think that the love of virtue 
is not sufficient to make a virtuous man ; for the love of virtue 
is a mere mental preference of the beautiful to the deformed; 
and we see but too often that immediate gratification outweighs 
the dictates of our judgment. If men could always perform 
their duty as well as they can discern it, or if they could attend 
to their real interests as well as they can see them, there would 
be little occasion for moral instruction. Sir Richard Steele, 
who wrote like a saint, and who, in his " Christian Hero," shows 
the strongest marks of a religious and devout heart, lived, not- 
withstanding all this, a drunkard and a debauchee. And what 
can be the cause of this apparent contradiction ? Was it that 
he had not strength of mind to act up to his views ? Then a 
man's salvation may depend on strength of intellect ! Or does 
not this rather show that superior motives are wanting ? That 
assistance is yet necessary, when the ablest of men has done 
his utmost ? If then such aid be necessary, how can it be 
obtained ? — by a virtuous life ? — Surely not : because, to live 
really a virtuous life, implies this aid to have been first given. 
We are told in Scripture, how it may be attained, namely, by 
humble trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, as our atoning sacri- 
fice. This, therefore, is the foundation of religious life, and 
as such, ought to be the fundamental principle of religious 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 149 

instruction. This is the test of our obedience, the indispensable 
preliminary before we can enjoy the favour of God. What? 
therefore, can we urge with more propriety from the pulpit 
than faith ?— to preach morality does not include the principle 
of faith — to preach faith includes every branch of morality, at 
the same time that it affords it its present sanctions, and its 
strongest incitements. 

I am afraid I have trespassed on your patience, and I must 
beg of you to excuse the badness of the writing, for which I 
have the plea of illness. I hope your health is yet firm, and 
that God will in mercy prosper your endeavours for the good 
of your flock. 

I am, dear Sir, 

Very respectfully yours, 

H. K. White. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 

St. John's, Cambridge, April, 1806. 
Dear Mother, 

* * * * 

I am quite unhappy to see you so anxious on my account, 
and also that you should think me neglectful of you. Believe 
me, my dear mother, my thoughts are often with you. Never 
do I lay myself * on my bed, before you have all passed before 
me in my prayers ; and one of my first earthly wishes is to 
make you comfortable, and provide that rest and quiet for your 
mind which you so much need : and never fear but I shall 
have it in my power some time or other. My prospects wear 
a flattering appearance. I shall be almost sure of a fellowship 
somewhere or other, and then, if I get a curacy in Cambridge, 
I shall have a clear income of 1701. per annum, besides my 
board and lodging, perhaps more. If I do not reside in Cam- 
bridge, I shall have some quiet parsonage, where you may 
come and spend the summer months. Maria and Kate will 
then be older, and you will be less missed. On all accounts 
you have much reason to indulge happier dreams. My health 
is considerably better. Only do you take as much care of 



150 LETTERS OF 

yours as I do of mine, and all mil be well. I exhort, and 
intreat, and beseech you, as you love me, and all your children, 
that you will take your bitters without ceasing. As you wish 
me to pay regard to your exhortations, attend to this. 
* * * * 



TO HIS MOTHER. 

St. John's, April, 1806. 
Dear Mother, 

I am a good deal surprised at not having heard from you 
in answer to my last. You will be surprised to hear the pur- 
port of my present letter; which is no less than that I shall 
spend the ensuing Easter vacation in Nottingham. The reasons 
which have induced me to make this so wide an alteration in 
my plan, are these : I have had some symptoms of the return 
of my old complaint, and both my doctor and tutor think I had 
better take a fortnight's relaxation at home. I hope you will 
not think I have neglected exercise, since I have taken more 
this term than I ever did before ; but I shall enlarge my hours 
of recreation still more, since I find it necessary, for my health's 
sake, so to do. 

You need not give yourself any uneasiness as to my health, 
for I am quite recovered. I was chiefly afflicted with sleep- 
lessness and palpitations of the heart, which symptoms have 
now disappeared, and I am quite restored to my former good 
health. My journey will re-establish me completely, and it 
will give me no small pleasure to see you after so long an 
absence from home. I shall be very idle while I am at Notting- 
ham ; I shall only amuse mysell with teaching Maria and Kate. 



(supposed to be addressed) 
TO MRS. WEST. 

I have stolen your first volume of Letters from the chimney- 
piece of a college friend, and I have been so much pleased both 
with the spirit, conduct, and style of the work, that I cannot 



HENRS" KIRKE WHITE. 151 

refrain from writing to tell yon so. I shall read the remaining 
volnmes immediately ; bnt as I am at this moment jnst in that 
desultory mood when a man can best write a letter, I have 
determined not to delay what, if I defer at all, I shall probably 
not do at all. 

Well, then, my dear Madam, although I have insidiously 
given you to understand, that I write to tell you how much I 
approve your work, I will be frank enough to tell you likewise, 
that I think, in one point, it is faulty ; and that, if I had not 
discovered what I consider to be a defect in the book, I should 
probably not have written for the mere purpose of declaiming 
on its excellences. 

Start not, Madam ; it is in that very point whereon you 
have bestowed most pains, that I think the work is faulty — 
Religion. If I mistake not, there will be some little confusion 
of idea detected, if we examine this part narrowly ; and as I 
am not quite idle enough to write my opinions without giving 
the reasons for them, I will endeavour to explain why I 
think so. 

Religion, then, Madam, I conceive to be the service a 
creature owes to his Creator ; and I take it for granted, that 
service implies some self-denial, and some labour ; for if it did 
not involve something unpleasing to ourselves, it would be 
a duty we should all of necessity perform. Well, then, if 
religion call for self-denial, there must be some motive to 
induce men voluntarily to undergo such privations as may be 
consequent on a religious life, and those motives must be such 
as a_I'ect either the present state of existence, or some other 
future state of existence. Certainly, then, those motives 
which arise from the expectation of a future state of existence, 
must, in reality, be infinitely more important than those which 
are founded in temporal concerns, although, to mankind, the 
immediate presence of temporal things may outweigh the 
distant apprehension of the future. Granting, therefore, that 
the future world is the main object of our religious exercises, 
it will follow, that they are the most important concerns of a 
man's life, and that every other consideration is light and 
trifling in the comparison. Tor the world to come is ever- 



152 LETTERS OF 

lasting, while the present world is but very short. Foolish, 
then, indeed, and short-sighted must that creature be, which 
can prefer the conveniences and accommodations of the 
present, to the happiness of the eternal future. 

All Christians, therefore, who undertake to lay down a chart 
for the young and inexperienced, by which they may steer 
with security through the ocean of life, will be expected to 
make religion a prominent feature on the canvas ; and that 
too, not only by giving it a larger space, but by enforcing the 
superiority of this consideration to every other. Now this is 
what I humbly conceive you have not altogether done ; and 
I think, indeed, if I be competent to judge, you have failed 
in two points ; — in making religion only a subordinate con- 
sideration to a young man, and in not defining distinctly the 
essentials of religion. 

I would ask you, then, in what way you so impress religion 
on the mind of your son, as one would expect that person 
would impress it, who was conscious that it was of the first 
importance. Do you instruct him to turn occasionally, when 
his leisure may permit, to pious and devout meditation ? Do 
you direct him to make religion the one great aim and end of 
his being ? Do you exhort him to frequent private and 
earnest prayer to the Spirit of Holiness, that he would 
sanctify all his doings ? Do you teach him that the praise, 
or the censure, the admiration, or the contempt, of the world, 
is of little importance, so as his heart be right before the 
Great Judge ? Do you tell him that, as his reason now opens, 
he should gradually withdraw from the gayer and occasionally 
more unlicensed diversions of the world — the ball-room, the 
theatre, and the public concert, in order that he may abstract 
his mind more from the too-fascinating delights of life, and 
fit himself for the new scene of existence, which will, sooner 
or later, open upon his view ? No, Madam, I think you do 
not do this. You tell him there is a deal of enthusiasm in 
persons who, though they mean well, are over-strict in their 
religious performances. You tell him, that assemblies, dances, 
theatres, are elegant amusements, though you couple the fine 
arts with them, which I am sorry to see in such company. I, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 153 

too, am enthusiastically attached to the fine arts. Poetry, 
painting, and music, are amongst my most delicious and 
chastest pleasures ; and happy, indeed, do I feel, when I can 
make even these contribute to the great end, and draw my 
soul from its sphere, to fix it on its Maker and Redeemer. 
I am fond, too, of tragedy ; and though I do not find it with 
so much purity and chastity in Shakespeare as in the old 
Greek dramatists, yet I know how to appreciate its beauties 
in him too. Besides these, I have a thousand other amuse- 
ments of the most refined nature, without either theatres, 
balls, or card-tables. The theatre is not in itself an immoral 
institution, but in its present state it is ; and I feel much for 
an uncorrupted, frank lad of fourteen, who is permitted to 
visit this stew of licentiousness, impudence, and vice. Your 
plan seems to me this : — -Teach a boy to lead an honest, 
upright life, and to do his duty, and he will gain the good- 
will of God by the very tenour of his actions. This is, indeed, 
an easy kind of religion, for it involves no self-denial; but 
true religion does involve self-denial. The inference is 
obvious. I say it involves no self-denial; because a well- 
educated, sensible lad will see so many inconveniences in 
vicious indulgences, that he will choose the virtuous by a 
natural effort of the understanding ; and so, according to this 
system, he will ensure heaven by the soundness of his policy, 
and the rectitude of his understanding. 

Admitting this to be a true doctrine, Christianity has been 
of no material service to mankind ; and the Son of God might 
have spared his blood : for the heathens knew all this, and not 
only knew it, but many of them put it into practice. What 
then has Christianity done ? But the Scripture teaches us 
the reverse of this : it teaches us to give God our whole 
heart, to live to him, to pray continually, and to fix our affec- 
tions, not on things temporal, but on things eternal. Now, 
I ask you, whether, without any sophistry, or any perversion 
of the meaning of words, you can reconcile this with your 
religious instruction to your son ? 

I think, likewise, that you do not define the essentials of 
religion distinctly. We are either saved by the atonement of 



154 LETTERS OF 

Jesus Christ, or we are not ; and if we are, then all men 
are necessarily saved, or some are necessarily not saved; 
and if some are not saved, it must be from causes either 
existing in the individuals themselves, or from causes 
existing in the economy of God's dispensations. !Xow, 
Madam, we are told that Jesus Christ died tor all ; but we 
grant that all are not saved. AVhy then are some not saved ? 
It is because they do not act in a manner worthy of God's 
favour ! Then a man's salvation depends upon his actions. 
But we are told in Scripture, that it does not depend on his 
actions — "By faith are ye saved, without the works of the law:" 
therefore it either must depend on some other effort of the 
creature, or on the will of the Creator. I will not dispute 
the question of Calvinism with you ; I will grant that Cal- 
vinism is indefensible ; but this all must concede who believe 
the Scriptures — that we are to be saved by faith only through 
Jesus Christ. I ask, therefore, whether you have taught this 
to your son ; and I ask whether there is one trait in your 
instructions, in common with the humbling, self-denying 
religion taught by the Apostles, by the homilies of our Church, 
and by all the reformers ? The chief argument of the latter 
against the Romish church, was their asserting the validity of 
works. Kow, what ideas must your son have of Christian 
faith ? You say, that even Shakespeare s debauchees v:ere 
believers ; and he is given to understand, that he is a good 
Christian, if he do his duty to his master and fellows, go to 
church every Sunday, and keep clear of enthusiasm. And 
what has Jesus Christ to do with your system ? and where is 
that faith banished, of which every page of Scripture is full? 
Can this be right ? " Closet devotion " is the means of attain- 
ing faith ; and humble prayer is the true means of arriving at 
fervency in religion, without enthusiasm. You condemn 
Socinianism ; but I ask you where Jesus Christ appears in your 
scheme, and why the influences of the Holy Ghost, and even 
his names, are banished from it ? 

* * * * 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 155 

TO MR. P. THOMPSON. 

Nottingham, April 8th, 1805. 
Dear Sir, 

I sincerely beg your pardon for my ungrateful disregard 
of jour polite letter .The intervening period has been so much 
taken up, on the one hand, by ill health, and on the other, by 
occupations of the most indispensable kind, that I have neg- 
lected almost all my friends, and you amongst the rest. I am 
now at Nottingham, a truant from study, and a rejected votary 
at the shrine of Health ; a few days will bring me back to the 
margin of the Cam, and bury me once more in the busy 
routine of college exercises. Before, however, I am again a 
man of bustle and occupation, I snatch a few moments to tell 
you how much I shall be gratified by your correspondence, 
and how greatly I think myself nattered by your esteeming 
mine worth asking for. 

The little sketch of your past occupations, and present 
pursuits, interested me. Cultivate, with all assiduity, the 
taste for letters which you possess. It will be a source 
of exquisite gratification to you ; and if directed as it ought 
to be, and I hope as it will be directed, it will be more than 
gratification (if we understand pleasure alone by that word), 
since it will combine with it utility of the highest kind. If 
polite letters were merely instrumental in cheering the hours 
of elegant leisure, in affording refined and polished pleasures, 
uncontaminated with gross and sensual gratifications, they 
would still be valuable ; but in a degree infinitely less than 
when they are considered as the handmaids of the virtues, the 
correctors as well as the adomers of society. But literature 
has, of late years, been prostituted to all the purposes of the 
bagnio. Poetry, in particular, arrayed in her most bewitching 
colours, has been taught to exercise the arts of the Leno, and 
to charm only that she may destroy. The muse, who once 
dipped her hardy wing in the chastest dews of Castalia, and 
spoke nothing but what had a tendency to confirm and 
invigorate the manly ardour of a virtuous mind, now breathes 
only the voluptuous languishings of the harlot, and, like the 



156 LETTERS OF 

brood of Circe, touches her charmed cords with a grace, that, 
while it ravishes the ear, deludes aud beguiles the seuse. I 
call to witness Mr. Moore, aud the tribe of imitators which 
his success has called forth, that my statement is true. Lord 
Straugford has trodden faithfully in the steps of his pattern. 
« * * & 

I hope, for the credit of poetry, that the good sense of the 
age will scout this insidious school ; and what may we not 
expect, if Moore and Lord Straugford apply themselves to a 
chaster muse? They are both men of uncommon powers. 
You may remember the reign of Darwinian poetry, and the 
fopperies of Delia Crusca. To these succeeded the school of 
simplicity, in winch Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge, 
are so deservedly eminent. I think that the new tribe of poets 
endeavour to combine these two opposite sects, and to unite 
richness of language, and warmth of colouring, with simplicity 
and pathos. They have certainly succeeded; but Moore 
unhappily wished to be a Catullus, and from him has sprung 
the licentiousness of the new school. Moore's poems and his 
translations will, I think, have more influence on the female 
society of this kingdom, than the stage has had in its worst 
period, the reign of Charles II. Ladies are not ashamed of 
having the delectable Mr. Little on their toilette, which is a 
pretty good proof that his voluptuousness is considered as 
quite veiled by the sentimental garb in which it is clad. Eut 
voluptuousness is not the less dangerous for having some slight 
semblance of the veil of modesty. On the contrary, her fasci- 
nations are infinitely more powerful in this retiring habit, 
than when she boldly protrudes herself on the gazer's eye, and 
openly solicits his attention. The broad indecency of Wycher- 
ley, and his cotemporaries, was not half so dangerous as this 
insinuating and half -covered mocJc-&e\iea.cy, which makes use 
of the blush of modesty in order to heighten the charms of vice. 

I must conclude somewhat abruptly, by begging you will 
not punish my negligence towards you, by retarding the plea- 
sure I shall receive from your answer. 

I am, very truly yours, 

H. K. White. 

Address to me, St. John's College, Cambridge. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 157 

TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

St. John's, May, 1806. 
My dear Neville, 

& # * # 

My long delayed and very anciently promised letter to 

Charlesworth will reach him shortly. Tell him that I have 

written one to him in Latin, but that having torn the paper in 

two by mistake, I could not summon resolution to copy it. 

I was glad to hear of the eclat with which he disputed, and 

came off on so difficult a subject as the Nerves ; and I beg ot 

him, if he have made any discoveries, to communicate them to 

me, who, being persecuted by these same nerves, should be 

glad to have some better acquaintance with my invisible 

enemies. 

* * * $ 



My dear Sister, 



TO HIS SISTER. 

St. John's, June 25th, 1808. 



The intelligence you gave me of Mr. Forest's illness, &c, 

cannot affect me in any way whatever. The mastership 

of the school must be held by a clergyman ; and I very well 

recollect that he is restrained from holding any curacy, or 

other ministerial office. The salary is not so large as you 

mention ; and if it were, the place would scarcely be an object 

to me ; for I am very certain, that if I choose, when I have 

taken my degree, I may have half a dozen pupils, to prepare 

for the university, with a salary of 10 0£. per annum, which 

would be more respectable, and more consonant to my habits 

and studies, than drilling the fry of a trading town, in learning 

which they do not know how to value. Latin and Greek are 

nothing like so much respected in Nottingham as Wingate's 

Arithmetic. 

* * * * 

It is well for you that you can still enjoy the privilege of 
sitting under the sound of the gospel; and the wants of others, 



158 LETTERS OF 

in these respects, will, perhaps, teach you how to value the 
blessings. All our comforts, and almost all our hopes, here 
lie at the mercy of every succeeding hour. Death is always 
at hand to bereave us of some dear connexion, or to snatch us 
away from those who may need our counsel and protection. 
I do not see how any person, capable of reflection, can live 
easily and fearlessly in these circumstances, unless he have a 
well-grounded confidence in the providing care of the Almighty, 
and a strong belief that his hand is in every event, and that it 
is a hand of mercy. The chances and changes of mortal life 
are so many and various, that a person cannot possibly fortify 
himself against the contingencies of futurity without some 
such hold as this, on winch to repose amidst the contending 
gales of doubt and apprehension. This I say as affecting the 
present life : — our views of the future can never be secure, 
they can never be comfortable or calm without a solid faith in 
the Redeemer. Men may reason about the divine benevolence, 
the certainty of a future state, and the probable means of 
propitiating the Great Judge, but their speculations will only 
entangle them in the mazes of doubt, perplexity, and alarm, 
unless they found their hopes on that basis which shall out- 
stand the tide of ages. If we take this away, the poor bark 
of mortality loses its only stay, and we steer at random, we 
know not how, we know not whither : the religion of Jesus 
Christ is strength to the weak, and wisdom to the unwise. It 
requires no preparatives of learning or study, but is, if pos- 
sible, more obvious and easy to the illiterate than to the erudite. 
No man, therefore, has any excuse if he neglect it. The way 
is plain before him, and he is invited to enter. He has only 
to kneel at the foot of the cross, and cry, with the poor pub- 
lican, " Lord have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner." If 
he do this, and examine his own heart, and mortify the body 
of sin within him, as far as he is able, humbly and earnestly 
imploring the assistance of God's holy spirit, we cannot doubt 
but he will meet with the approbation and assistance of the 
Almighty. In this path we must all tread. In this path I 
hope that you, my dear sister, are now proceeding. You have 
children ; to whom can you commit them, should Providence 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 159 

call you hence, with more confidence than the meek and bene- 
volent Jesus ? What legacy can you leave them more certainly 
profitable than the prayers of a pious mother ? And, if taught 
by your example, as well as by your instructions, they should 
become themselves patterns of a holy and religious life, how 
sweetly will the evening of your days shine upon your head, 
as you behold them treading in those ways which you know, 
by experience, to be ways of pleasantness and peace ! I need 
not press this subject. I know you feel all that I say, and 
more than I can express. I only fear that the bustle of family 
cares, as well as many anxieties of mind on other accounts, 
should too much divert you from these important objects. 
Let me only remind you, that the prayers of the afflicted are 
particularly acceptable to God. The sigh of the penitent is 
not too light to reach his ear. The eye of God is fixed as 
intently upon your soul, at all times, as it is upon the revo- 
lution of the heavenly bodies, and the regulation of systems. 
God surveys all tilings, and he contemplates them with perfect 
attention; and, consequently, he is as intently conversant 
about the smallest as about the greatest things. For if he 
were not as perfectly intent on the soul of an individual being, 
as he is about the general concerns of the universe, then he 
would do one tiling less perfectly than another : which is 
impossible in God. ♦ 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

St. John's, June 30th, 1806. 
Dear Keville, 

I received your letter yesterday; and I hope you. will not 
think my past silence at all in need of apology, when you know 
that our examination only closed on Saturday. 

I have the satisfaction of informing you that, after a week's 
scrutiny, I was deemed to be the first man. I had very little 
hopes of arriving at so distinguislihig a station, on account of 
my many checks and interruptions. It gave me great pleasure 
to observe how all the men rejoiced in my success. It was on 



1G0 LETTERS OF 

Monday that the classes were published. I am a prize-man 
both in the mathematical and logical, or general examination, 
and in Latin composition. 

Mr. Catton has expressed his great satisfaction at my pro- 
gress ; and he has offered to supply me with a private tutor 
for the four months of the vacation, free of any expense. This 
will cost the college twelve or fifteen guineas at least.. My 
last term bill amounts only to 4Z. 5 s. 2>d. after my exhibitions 
are deducted. 

I had engaged to take charge of a few classical pupils for a 
clergyman in Warwickshire, during one month of the vacation, 
for which I was to receive, besides my board, &c. &c, ten 
guineas ; but Mr. Catton says this is a piece of extreme lolly, 
as it will consume time, and do me no good. He told me, 
therefore, positively, that he would not give me an exeat, 
without which no man can leave his college for a night. 

I cannot, therefore, at all events, visit Nottingham with my 
aunt, nor meet her there. 

I could now, if I chose, leave St. John's College, and go to 
another, with great eclat ; but it would be an unadvisable 
step. I believe, however, it will be impossible for them to 
elect me fellow at St. John's, as my county is under particular 
restrictions. They can give me a fellowship of smaller value, 
but I had rather get one at another college : at all events, the 
smaller colleges will be glad to elect me from St. John's. 
* * * # 

TTith regard to cash, I manage pretty well, though my 
fund is at present at its lowest ebb. My bills, however, are 
paid ; and I have no occasion for money, except as a private 
convenience. The question therefore is, whether it will be 
more inconvenient to you than convenient to me, for you to 
replenish my purse. Decide impartially. I have not drawn 
upon my mother since Christmas, except for the expense of my 
journey up from Nottingham to Cambridge ; nor do I mean to 
do it till next Christmas, when, as I have ordered a suit of 
clothes, I shall have a good many calls for money. 

Let me have a long letter from you soon. 
* # * * 



HENRY KIEKE WHITE. 161 

TO HIS MOTHER. 

St. John's, July 9th, 1808. 

My dear, Mother, 

I have scarcely time to write you a long letter ; but tlie 
pleasing nature of my intelligence will, I hope, make up for its 
shortness. 

After a week's examination, I am decided to be the best 
man of my year at St. John's ; an honour I had scarcely hoped 
for, since my reading has been so very broken and interrupted. 
The contest was very stiff, and the men all acquitted themselves 
very well. We had thirteen men in the first class, though 
there are seldom more than six or eight who attain that rank 
in common. 

I have learned also, that I am a prize-man in classical com- 
position, though I do not yet know whereabouts I stand. It 
is reported that here, too, I am first. 

Before it was known that I was the first man, Mr. Catton, 
our college tutor, told me that he was so satisfied with the 
maimer in which I had passed through the examination, that if 
I chose to stay up during the summer, I should have a private 
tutor in the mathematics, and that it should be no expense to 
me. I could not hesitate at such a proposal, especially as he 
did not limit the time for my keeping the private tutor, but 
will probably continue it as long as I like. You may estimate 
the value of this favour, when I tell you that a private tutor, 
for the whole vacation, will cost the college at least twelve or 
fourteen guineas, and that during term time they receive ten 
guineas the term. 

I cannot of course leave the college this summer, even for a 
week, and shall therefore miss the pleasure of seeing my Aunt 

G at Nottingham. I have written to her. 

It gave me much pleasure to observe the joy all the men 
seemed to feel at my success. I had been on a water excur- 
sion with a clergyman in the neighbourhood, and some ladies, 
md just got home as the men were assembling for supper ; 
vou can hardly conceive with what pleasure they all flocked 

M 



1G2 LETTERS OF 

round me, with, the most hearty congratulations, and I found 
that many of them had been seeking me all over the college, 
in order to be the first to communicate the good tidings. 
$ * * * 



TO MR. B. MADDOCK. 

St. John's, July, 1806. 
My dear Friend, 

I have good and very bad news to communicate to you. 
Good, that Mr. Catton has given me an exhibition, which 
makes me up a clear income of 63Z. per annum, and that I am 
consequently more than independent ; bad, that I have been 
very ill, notwithstanding regular and steady exercise. Last 
Saturday morning I rose early, and got up some rather abstruse 
problems in mechanics for my tutor, spent an hour with him, 
between eight and nine got my breakfast, and read the Greek 
History (at breakfast) till ten, then sat down to decipher 
some logarithm tables. I think I had not done anything at 
them, when I lost myself. At a quarter past eleven my laun- 
dress found me bleeding in four different places in my fane and 
head, and insensible. I got up, and staggered about the room, 
and she, being frightened, ran away, and told my gyp to fetch 
a surgeon. Before he came, I was sallying out with my flannel 
gown on, and my academical gown over it : he made me put 
on my coat, and then I went to Mr. Parish's : he opened a 
vein, and my recollection returned. My own idea was, that I 
had fallen out of bed, and so I told Mr. Parish at first ; but I 
afterwards remembered that I had been to Mr. Piske, and 
breakfasted. 

Mr. Catton has insisted on my consulting Sir Isaac Pen- 
nington, and the consequence is, that I am to go through a 
course of blistering, &c, which, after the bleeding, will leave 
me weak enough. 

I am, however, very well, except as regards the doctors ; 
and yesterday I drove into the country to Saffron Walden in a 
gig. My tongue is in a bad condition, from a bite which I 
gave it, either in my fall, or in the moments of convulsion. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 1G3 

My nose has also come badly off. I believe I fell against my 
reading-desk. My other wounds are only rubs and scratches 
on the carpet. 

I am ordered to remit my studies for awhile, by the com- 
mon advice both of doctors and tutors. Dr. Pennington hopes 
to prevent any recurrence of the fit. He thinks it looks 
towards epilepsy, of the horrors of which malady I have a very 
full and precise idea ; and I only pray that God will spare me 
as respects my faculties, however else it may seem good to 
him to afflict me. Were I my own master, I know how I 
should act ; but I am tied here by bands which I cannot burst. 
I know that change of place is needful ; but I must not in- 
dulge in the idea. The college must not pay my tutor for 
nothing. Dr. Pennington and Mr. Parish attribute the attack 
to a too continued tension of the faculties. As I am much 
alone now, I never get quite off study, and I think inces- 
santly. I know nature will not endure this. They both pro- 
posed my going home, but Mr. did not hint at it, 

although much concerned; and, indeed, I know home would 
be a bad place for me in my present situation. I look round 
for a resting-place, and I find none. Yet there is one, which 
I have long too, too much disregarded, and thither I must now 
betake myself. There are many situations worse than mine, 
and I have no business to complain. If these afflictions should 
draw the bonds tighter which hold me to my Redeemer, it 
will be well. 

You may be assured that you have here a plain statement 
of my case, in its true colours, without any palliation. I am 
now well again, and have only to fear a relapse, which I shall 
do all I can to prevent, by a relaxation in study. 

I have now written too much. 

I am, very sincerely, yours, 

H. K. White. 

P.S. I charge you, as you value my peace, not to let my 
friends hear, either directly or indirectly, of my illness. 



u 2 



IGi LETTERS OF 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

St. John's, 30th July, 1806. 
My deab Neville, 

I had deferred sitting down to write to you until I should 
have leisure to send you a very long letter ; but as that time 
seems every day farther off, I shall beg your patience no 
longer, but fill my sheet as well as I can. 

I must first reply to your queries. I beg pardon for having 
omitted to mention the receipt of the , but, as I acknow- 
ledged the receipt of the parcel, I concluded that you would 
understand me to mean its contents as specified in your letter. 
But I know the accuracy of a man of business too well to 
think your caution strange. As to the college prizes, I have 
the satisfaction of telling you that I am entitled to two— viz., 
the first for the general examination, and one of the first for 
the classical composition. I say one of the first on this ac- 
count — I am put equal with two others at the top of the list. 
In this contest, I had all the men of the three years to contend 
with, and, as both my equals are my seniors in standing, I 
have no reason to be dissatisfied. 

* * * * 

The Rhetoric Lecturer sent me one of my Latin Essays to 
copy, for the purpose of inspection ; a compliment which was 
paid to none of the rest. 

* * * & 

We three are the only men who are honoured with prizes, so 
that we have cut four or five Eton men, who are always boast- 
ing of their classical ability. 

With regard to your visit here, I think you had better come 
in term thne, as the university is quite empty, and starers 
have nothing but the buildings to gaze at. If, however, you j 
can come more conveniently now than hereafter, I would 
advise you not to let this circumstance prevent you. I shall 

be glad to see Mr. with you. You may spend a few 

days very pleasantly here, even in vacation thne, though you 
will scarcely meet a gownsman in the streets. 

I thought the matter over about , but I do not think I 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 163 

have any influence here. Being myself a young man, I cannot, 
with any chance of success, attempt to direct even that interest 
which I may claim with others. 

The university is the worst place in the world for making 
interest. The great mass of men are themselves busily em- 
ployed in wriggling themselves into places and livings ; and 
there is, in general, too much anxiety for No. 1, to permit any 
interference for a neighbour, No. 2. 

* * * * 



TO HIS MOTHER. 

St. John's, Aug., 1808. 

My dear Mother, 

I have no hesitation in declining the free-school, on the 

ground of its precluding the exercise of the ministerial duties. 

I shall take the liberty of writing Mr. , to thank him for 

having thought of me, and to recommend to his notice 

Mr. . 

& * * % 

But do not fret yourself, my dear mother ; in a few years we 
shall, I hope, be in happier circumstances. I am not too 
sanguine in my expectations, but I shall certainly be able to 
assist you, and my sisters, in a few years. * * * As for 
Maria and Kate, if they succeed well in their education, they 
may, perhaps, be able to keep a school of a superior kind, 
where the profits will be greater, and the labour less. I even 
hope that this may not be necessary, and that you, my father, 
and they, may come and live with me when I get a parsonage. 

You would be pleased to see how comfortably Mr. lives 

with his mother and sisters, at a snug little rectory about ten 
miles from Cambridge. So much for castle building. 



166 LETTERS OF 



TO ME. . 

St. John's, Aug. 15, 1800. 
My good Fiuexd, 

I have deferred writing to you until my return from 

Mr. 'Sj knowing how much you would like to hear from 

me in respect to that dear family. I am afraid your patience 
has been tried by this delay, and I trust to this circumstance 
alone as my excuse. 

My hours have seldom flowed so agreeably as they did at 

S , nor perhaps have I made many visits which have been 

more profitable to me in a religious sense. The example of 

Mr. will, I hope, stimulate me to a faithful preparation 

for the sacred office to which I am destined. I say & faithful 
preparation, because I fear I am apt to deceive myself with 
respect to my present pursuits, and to think I am only labour- 
ing for the honour of God, when I am urging literary laboms 
to a degree inconsistent with duty, and my real interests. 

Mr. is a good and careful pastor ; my heart has seldom 

been so full as when I have accompanied him to the chambers 
of the sick, or have heard his affectionate addresses to the 
attentive crowd, which fills his schoolroom on Sunday evening. 
He is so earnest, and yet so sober ; so wise, and yet so simple! 

You, my dear II , are now very nearly approaching to the 

sacred office, and I sincerely pray that you may be stimulate d 
to follow after the pattern of our excellent friend. You may 

have Mr. 's zeal, but you will need his learning and his 

judgment to temper it. Remember, that it is a work of much 
more self-denial, for a man of active habits to submit to a 
course of patient study, than to suffer many privations for 
Christ's sake. In the latter the heart is warmly interested ; 
the other is the slow and unsatisfactory labour of the head, 
tedious in its progress, and uncertain in its produce. Yet 
there is a pleasure, great and indescribable pleasure, in sanc- 
tified study : the more wearisome the toil, tae sweeter will it be 
to those who sit down with a subdued and patient spirit, 
content to undergo much tedium and fatigue, for the honour 
of God's ministry. Reading, however dry, soon becomes 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 1G7 

interesting if we pursue it with a resolute spirit of investi- 
gation, and a determinate purpose of thoroughly mastering 
what we are about. You cannot take up the most tiresome 
book, on the most tiresome subject, and read it with fixed 
attention for an hour, but you feel a desire to go on ; and 
here I would exhort you, whatever you read, read it accu- 
rately and thoroughly, and never to pass over anything, 
however minute, which you do not quite comprehend. This 
is the only way to become really learned, and to make your 
studies satisfactory and productive. If I were capable of 
directing your course of reading, I should recommend you to 
peruse Butler's Analogy, Warburton's Divine Legation, 
Prideaux and Shuckford's Connexions, and Milner's Church 
History, century for century, along with Moshefm's Eccle- 
siastical History. The latter is learned, concise, clear, and 
written in good scholastic Latin. Study the Chronology of 
the Old Testament, and, as a mean of making it interesting, 
trace out the completion of the prophecies. Read your Greek 
Testament with the nicest accuracy, tracing every word to its 
root, and seeking out the full force of particular expressions, 
by reference both to Parkhurst and Scapula. The derivation 
of words will throw great light on many parts of the New 
Testament ; thus, if we know that the word diaicovos, a deacon, 
comes from dia and kovlco, to bustle about in the dust, we shall 
have a fuller notion of the humility of those who held the 
office in the primitive church. In reading the Old Testament, 
wherever you find a passage obscure, turn to the Septuagint, 
which will often clear up a place better than fifty commen- 
< ators. Thus, in Joel, the day of the Lord is called " a day 
if gloominess, a day of darkness, and of clouds, like the 
morning spread upon the mountains" which is a contra- 
diction. Looking at the Septuagint, we find that the passage 
is mispointed, and that the latter metaphor is applied to the 
people : " A people great and strong, like the morning spread 
upon the mountains." The Septuagint is very easy Greek, 
quite as much so as the Greek Testament ; and a little practice 
of this kind will help you in your knowledge of the language, 
and make you a good critic. I perceive your English style is 



168 LETTERS OF 

very unpolished, and I think this a matter of great moment. 

T should recommend you to read, and imitate as nearly as you 

can, the serious papers in the eighth volume of the Spectator, 

particularly those on the Ubiquity of the Deity. Accustom 

yourself to write down your thoughts, and to polish the style 

some time after composition, when you have forgotten the 

expression. Aim at conciseness, neatness, and clearness; 

never make use oijine or vulgar words. Avoid every epithet 

which does not acid greatly to the idea, for every addition of 

this kind, if it do not strengthen, weakens the sentiment ; and 

be cautious never to express by two words what you can do 

as well by one : a multiplicity of words only hides the sense, 

just as a superabundance of clothes does the shape. Thus 

much for studies. 

* * * * 

I recommend you to pause and consider muck and well en 
the subject of matrimony. You have heard my sentiments 
with regard to a rich wife ; but I am much too young, and 
too great an enthusiast, to be even a tolerable counsellor on a 
point like this. You must think for yourself, and consult with 
prudent and pious people, whose years have taught them the 
wisdom of the present world, and whose experience has 
instructed them in that of the world to come. But a little 
sober thought is worth a world of advice. You have, however, 
an infallible adviser, and to his directions you may safely look. 
To him I commend all your ways. 

I have one observation to make, which I hope you will for- 
give in me ; it is, that you fall in love too readily. I have no 
noticn of a man's having a certain species of affection for 
two women at once. I am afraid you let your admiration 
outrun your judgment in the outset, and then comes the 
denouement and its attendant, disappointment and disgust. 
Take good heed you do not do this in marriage ; for if you do, 
there will be great risk of your making shipwreck of your 
hopes. Be content to learn a woman's good qualities as they 
gradually reveal themselves ; and do not let your imagination 
adorn her with virtues and charms to which she has no pre- 
tension. I think there is often a little disappointment after 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 169 

marriage — our angels turn out to be mere Eves ; — but the true 
way of .avoiding, or, at least, lessening this inconvenience, is 
to estimate the object of our affections really as she is, without 
deceiving ourselves, and injuring her, by elevating her above 
her sphere. This is the way to be happy in marriage ; for, 
upon this plan, our partners will be continually breaking in 
upon us, and delighting us with some new discovery of excel- 
lence ; while, upon the other plan, we shall always be finding 
that the reality falls short of what we had so fondly and so 
foolishly imagined. 

Be very sedulous and very patient in your studies. You 
would shudder at the idea of obtruding yourself on the sacred 
office in a condition rather to disgrace than to adorn it. St. 
Paul is earnest in admonishing Timothy to give attention to 
reading : and that holy apostle himself quotes from several ot 
the best authors among the Greeks. His style is also very 
elegant, and polished on occasion. He, therefore, did not 
think the graces of composition beneath his attention, as scm3 
foolish and ignorant preachers of the present day are apt to 
do. I have written a longer letter to you than I expected, 
and I must now therefore say, good bye. 

I am very affectionately yours, 

H. K. "\7hite. 



TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 

St. John's, Aug. 12th, 1800. 
Dear Neville, 

I can but just manage to tell you, by this post, what I 
am sure you will be glad to learn, even at the expense of 
sevenpence for an empty sheet, that Mr. Catton has given me 
an exhibition, which makes my whole income sixty guineas 
a year. My last term's bill was 13 £. 13s., and I had 71. 12s. 
to receive ; but the expenses of this vacation will leave me 
bare until Christmas. 

I have the pleasure of not having solicited either this or 
any other of the favours which Mr. Catton has so liberally 
bestowed upon me : and though I have been the possessor of 



170 LETTERS OF 

this exhibition ever since March last, yet Mr. Catton did not 
hint it to me until this morning, when he gave me my bill. 

I have, of course, signified to Mr. Simeon, that I shall have 
no need whatever of the stipend which I have hitherto re- 
ceived through his hands. He was extremely kind on the 
occasion, and indeed his conduct towards me has ever been 

fatherly. It was Mr. who allowed me 20/. per annum, 

and Mr. Simeon added 10Z. He told me that my conduct 
gave him the most heartfelt joy; that I was so generally 
respected, without having made any compliances, as he under- 
stood, or having, in any instance, concealed my principles. 
Indeed this is a praise which I may claim, though I never 
conceived that it Avas at all an object of praise. I have always 
taken some pains to let those around me know my religious 
sentiments, as a saving of trouble, and as a mark of that inde- 
pendence of opinion which, I think, every one ought to assert : 
and as I have produced my opinions with frankness and 
modesty, and supported them (if attacked) with coolness and 
candour, I have never found them any impediment to my ac- 
quaintance with any person whose acquaintance I coveted. 



TO MR. E. W. A. 

St. John's, Aug, 18tb, 1806. 

Deah A , 

I am glad to hear of your voyages and travels through 
various regions, and various seas, both of this island, and its 
little suckling, the Isle of Wight. 

Many hair's-breadth 'scapes and perilous adventures you 
must needs have had, and many a time, on the extreme shores 
of the south, must you have looked up with the eye of intelli- 
gent curiosity, to see whether the same moon shone there as 
in the pleasant, but now far distant, groves of Colwick. And 
now, my very wise and travelled friend, seeing that your head 
is yet upon your shoulders, and your neck in its right natural 
position, and seeing that, after all the changes and chances of 
a long journey, and after being banged from post to pillar, and 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 171 

from pillar to post, — seeing, I say, that, after all this, you are 
safely housed once more under your paternal roof, what think 
you, if you were to indulge your mind as much as you have 
done your eyes and gaping muscles ? A few trips to the foun- 
tains of light and colour, or to the regions of the good lady 
who x € P u>LV a§aXot? SteVei a<fioppov ttovtov, a ramble down the 
Galaxy, and a few peeps on the unconfined conhnes (jrorfiop 
airoryLov, vttvov avirvov, fiiov ov ^lcotovclK) of infinite space, 
would prove, perhaps, as delectable to your immaterial part, as 
the delicious see-saw of a posl-chaise was to your corporeal ; 
or, if these setherial, aeronautical, mathematical volutations 
should displease you, perhaps it would not be amiss to saunter 
a few weeks on the site of Troy, or to lay out plans of ancieLt 
history on the debateable ground of the Peloponnesians and 
Athenians. There is one Thucy elides, who lives near, who will 
tell you all about the places you visit, and the great events 
connected with them : he is a sententious old fellow, very 
shrewd in his remarks, and speaks, moreover, very excellent 
Greek at your service. I know not whether you have met 
with any guide in the course of your bodily travels who can be 
compared to him. If you should make Rome in your way, 
either there or back, I should like to give you a letter of intro- 
duction to an old friend of mine, whose name is Livy, who, as 
far as his memory extends, will amuse you with pretty stories, 
and some true history. There is another honest fellow enough, 
to whom I dare not recommend you, he is so very crabbed and 
tart, and speaks so much in epigrams and enigmas, that I am 
afraid he would teach you to talk as unintelligibly as himself. 
I do not mean to give you any more advice, but I have one 
exhortation, winch I hope you will take in good part ; it is 
this, that if you set out on this journey, you would please to 
proceed to its end : for I have been acquainted with some 
young men, who have turned then' faces towards Athens or 
Rome, and trudged on manfuLy for a few miles, but when they 
had travelled till they grew weary, and worn out a good pair 
of shoes, have suddenly become disheartened, and returned 
without any recompence for then* pains. 

And now let me assume a more serious strain, and exhort 



I<2 LETTERS OF 

you to cultivate your mind with the utmost assiduity. You 
are at a critical period of your life, and the habits which you 
now form will, most probably, adhere to you through life. If 
they be idle habits, I am sure they will. 

But even the cultivation of your mind is of minor importance 
to that of your heart, your temper, and disposition. Here I 
have need, not to preach, but to learn. You have had 
less to encounter in your religious progress than I have, and 
your progress has been therefore greater, greater even than 
your superior faculties would have warranted. I have had to 
fight hard with vanity at home, and applause abroad; no 
wonder that my vessel has been tossed about, but greater 
wonder that it is yet upon the waves. I exhort you to pray 
with me, (and I entreat you to pray ./or me,) that we may both 
weather out the storm, and arrive in the haven of sound tran- 
quillity, even on this side the grave. 

We have all particular reason to watch and pray, lest self 
too much predominate. We should accustom ourselves to hold 
our own comforts and conveniences as subordinate to the com- 
forts and conveniences of others in all things ; and a habit thus 
begun in little matters, might probably be extended without 
difficulty to those of a higher nature. 

* * * * 



TO MR. B. HADDOCK. 

St. John's, Utli Sept., 1806. 
My dear Ben, 

I can scarcely write more to you now than just to calm 
your uneasiness on my account. I am perfectly well again, 
and have experienced no recurrence of the tit ; my spirits, too, 
are better, and I read very moderately. I hope that God will 
be pleased to spare his rebellious child ; this stroke has brought 
me nearer to him : whom indeed have I for my comforter, but 
him ? 

I am still reading, but with moderation, as I have been 
during the whole vacation, whatever you may persist in 
thinking. 



HENRY KIKKE WHITE. 173 

My heart turns with more fondness towards the consolations 
of religion than it did, and in some degree I have found con- 
solation. I still, however, conceive that it is my duty to 
pursue my studies temperately, and to fortify myself with 
Christian resignation and calmness for the worst. I am much 
wanting in these virtues, and, indeed, in all Christian virtues, 
but I know how desirable they are, and I long for them. Pray 
that I may be strengthened and enlightened, and that I may 
be enabled to go where duty bids, wherever that be. 



TO MR. B. HADDOCK. 

St. John's, Cambridge, 22nd Sept., 1806. 
My dear Emend, 

* * * * 

You charge me with an accession of gallantry of late : I 
plead guilty. I really began to think of marriage, (very pre- 
maturely, you'll say) ; but if I experience any repetition of 
the fit, I shall drop the idea of it for ever. It would be folly 
and cruelty to involve another in all the horrors of such a 
calamity. 

I thank you for your kind exhortations to a complete sur- 
render of my heart to God, which are contained in your letter. 
In tins respect I have betrayed the most deplorable weakness 
and indecision of character. I know what the truth is, and I 
love it ; but I still go on giving myself half to God, and half 
to the world, as if I expected to enjoy the comforts of religion 
along with the vanities of life. If, for a short time, I keep up 
a closer communion with God, and feel my whole bosom burst- 
ing with sorrow and tenderness as I approach the footstool of 
my Saviour, I soon relapse into indifference, worldly mindecl- 
ness, and sin; my devotions become listless and perfunctory: 
I dote on the world, its toys, and its corruptions, and am mad 
enough to be willing to sacrifice the happiness of eternity to 
the deceitful pleasures of the passing moment. My heart is 
indeed a lamentable sink of loathsome corruption and hypo- 
crisy. In consistency with my professed opinions, I am often 



174 LETTEKS OF 

obliged to talk on subjects of which I know but little in expe- 
rience, and to rank myself with those who have felt what T 
only approve from my head, and, perhaps, esteem from my 
heart. I often start with horror and disgust from myself, 
when I consider how deeply I have imperceptibly gone into 
this species of simulation. Yet I think my love for the Gospel, 
and its professors, is sincere ; only I am insincere in suffering 
persons to entertain an high opinion of me as a child of God, 
when indeed I am an alien from him. On looking over some 
private memorandums which were written at various times in 
the course of the two last years, I beheld, with inexpressible 
anguish, that my progress has, if anything, been retrograde. 
I am still as dark, still as cold, still as ignorant, still as fond 
of the world, and have still fewer desires after holiness. I am 
very, very dissatisfied with myself, and yet I am not prompted 
to earnest prayer. I have been so often earnest, and always 
have fallen away, that I go to God without hope, without 
faith. Yet I am not totally without hope ; I know God will 
have my whole heart, and I know when I give him that, I 
shall experience the light of his countenance with a perma- 
nency. I pray that he would assist my weakness, and grant 
me some portion of his grace, in order that I may overcome 
the world, the flesh, and the devil, to which I have long, very 
long, been a willing, though an unhappy slave. Do you pray 
earnestly with me, and for me, in these respects ; I know the 
prayers of the faithful avail much ; and when you consider 
with what great temptations I am surrounded, and how very 
little strength I have wherewith to resist them, you will feel 
with me the necessity of earnest supplication, and fervent 
intercession, lest I should be lost, and cast away for ever. 

I shall gladly receive your spiritual advice and directions. 
I have gone on too long in coldness and unconcern; who 
knows whether, if I neglect the present hour, the day of salva- 
tion may not be gone by for ever ! 

* * # * 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 175 

TO MR. JOHN CHARLESWORTH. 

St. John's, 22nd Sept., 1800. 
My dear Charlesworth, 

Thank you for taking the blame of our neglected cor- 
respondence on your own shoulders. I thought it rested 
elsewhere. Thrice have I begun to write to you ; once in 
Latin, and twice in English ; and each time have the fates 
opposed themselves to the completion of my design. But, 
however, pax sit rebus, we are naturally disposed to forgive, 
because we are, as far as intention goes, mutually offenders. 

I thank you for your invitation to Clapham, which came at 
a fortunate juncture, since I had just settled with my tutor 
that I should pay a visit to my brother in London this week. 
I shall of course see you; and shall be happy to spend a few 
days with you at Clapham, and to rhapsodize on your com- 
mon. It gives me pleasure to hear you are settled, and I give 
you many hearty good wishes for practice and prosperity. I 
hope you will soon find that a wife is a very necessary article 
of enjoyment in a domesticated state; for how indeed should 
it be otherwise ? A man cannot cook his dinner while he 
is employed in earning it. Housekeepers are complete hel- 
luones rei familiaris, and not only pick your pockets, but 
abuse you into the bargain. While a wife, on the contrary, 
both cooks your dinner and enlivens it with her society ; 
receives you after the toils of the day with cheerfulness and 
smiles, and. is not only the faithful guardian of your treasury, 
but the soother of your cares, and the alleviator of your 
calamities. Now, am I not very poetical ? But on such a 
subject, who would not be poetical? A wife! — a domestic 
fire-side !— the cheerful assiduities of love and tenderness ! 
It would inspire a Dutch burgomaster ! and if, with all this 
in your grasp, you shall still choose the pulsare terrain pede 
liber o, still avoid the irrupt a copula, still deem it a 
matter of light regard to be an object of affection and 
fondness to an amiable and sensible woman, why then 
tou deserve to be a fellow of a college all your days 
to be kicked about in your last illness by a saucy and 
careless bed-maker ■ and, lastly, to be put in the ground 



176 LETTERS OF 

in your college chapel, followed only by the man who is to bi 
your successor. Why, man, I dare no more dream that J 
shall ever have it in my power to have a wife, than that \ 
shall be Archbishop of Canterbury, and Primate of all England. 
A suite of rooms in a still and quiet comer of old St. John's, 
which was once occupied by a crazy monk, or by one of the 
translators of the Bible in the days of good King James, must 
form the boundary of my ambition. I must be content to 
inhabit walls which never echoed with a female voice — to be 
buried in glooms which were never cheered with a female 
smile. It is said, indeed, that women were sometimes per- 
mitted to visit St. John's, when it was a monastery of White 
"Friars, in order to be present at particular religious cere- 
monies ; but the good monks were careful to sprinkle holy 
water wherever their profane footsteps had carried contagion 
and pollution. 

It is well that you are free from the restrictions of monastic 
austerity, and that, while I sleep under the shadow of towers 
and lofty walls, and the safeguard of a vigilant porter, you are 
permitted to inhabit your own cottage, under your own guar- 
dianship, and to listen to the sweet accents of domestic affection. 

Yes, my very Platonic, or rather Stoical friend, I must 
see you safely bound in the matrimonial noose, and then, 
like a confirmed bachelor, ten years hence, I shall have the 
satisfaction of pretending to laugh at, while, in my heart, I 
envy you. So much for rhapsody. I am coming to London 
for relaxation's sake, and shall take it pretty freely ; that is, 
I shall seek after fine sights — stare at fine people — be cheerful 
with the gay — foolish with the simple — and leave as little 
room to suspect as possible that I am (anything of) a philo- 
sopher and mathematician. I shall probably talk a little Greek, 
but it will be by stealth, in order to excite no suspicion. 
* * ^ * 

I shall be in town on Friday or Saturday. I am in a very 
idle mood, and have written you a very idle letter, for whicfc 
I entreat your pardon, and 

I am, dear C , 

Very sincerely yours, 

II. K. White. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 177 

TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. 
(found in his pocket after his decease.) 

St. John's College, Saturday, Oct. 11, 1806. 
Deah Neville, 

I am safely arrived, and in college, bnt my illness has in- 
creased npon me much. The cough continues, and is attended 
with a good deal of fever. I am under the care of Mr. 
Parish, and entertain very little apprehension about the cough ; 
but my over exertions in town have reduced me to a state of 
much debility ; and, until the cough be gone, I cannot be per- 
mitted to take any strengthening medicines. This places me 
in an awkward predicament ; but I think I perceive a degree 
of expectoration this morning, which will soon relieve me, and 
then I shall mend apace. 

Under these circumstances, I must not expect to see you 
here at present : when I am a little recovered, it will be a 
pleasant relaxation to me. 

* * * * 

Our lectures began on Friday, bnt I do not attend them 
nntil I am better. I have not written to my mother, nor shall 
I while I remain unwell. You will tell her, as a reason, that 
our lectures began on Eriday. I know she will be uneasy if 
she do not hear from me, and still more so, if I tell her I am ill. 
I cannot write more at present, than that I am 

Your truly affectionate brother, 

H. K. White. 



HINTS, Etc. 

Why will not men be contented with appearing what they 
are ? As sure as we attempt to pass for what we are not, 
we make ourselves ridicnlous. With religious professors this 
ought to be a consideration of importance; for when we 
assume credit for what we do not possess, we break the laws 
of God in more ways than we are aware of : vanity and deceit 
are both implicated. 

H 



178 HINTS, ETC. 

Why art thou so disquieted, my soul, and why so full of 
heaviness ? put thy trust in God ; for I will yet thank him 
which is the help of my countenance, and my God. Ps. xlii. 
Domine Jesu in te speravi, miserere mei ! Ne sperne ani- 
mum miserrimi peccatoris. 

The love of Christ is the only source from whence a Chris- 
tian can hope to derive spiritual happiness and peace. Now 
the love of Christ will not reside in the bosom already pre- 
occupied with the love of the world, or any other predomi- 
nating affection. We must give up everything for it, and we 
know it deserves that distinction ; yet, upon this principle, 
unless the energy of Divine grace were what it is, mighty and 
irresistible, who would be saved ? 

The excellence of our liturgy, and our establishment, is 
more and more impressed upon my mind : how admirable do 
her confessions, her penitentiary offerings, her intercessions, 
her prayers, suit with the case of the Christian ! It is a sign 
that a man's heart is not right with God, when he finds fault 
with the liturgy. 

Contempt of religion is distinct from unbelief : unbelief may 
be the result of proud reasonings, and independent research ; 
but contempt of the Christian doctrine must proceed from 
profound ignorance. 

Lord, give me a heart to turn all knowledge to thy glory, 
and not to mine : keep me from being deluded with the lights 
of vain philosophy; keep me from the pride of human reason: 
let me not think my own thoughts, nor dream my own imagi- 
nations ; but in all things acting under the good guidance of j 
thy Holy Spirit, may I live in all simplicity, humility, and I 
singleness of heart, unto the Lord Jesus Christ, now and for 
evermore. Amen. 

[The above Prayer was prefixed to a Manual, or Memorandum- 
book.] 



HINTS, ETC. 179 



A Peayee,. 



Almighty Father, at the close of another day I kneel before 
thee in supplication, and ere I compose my body to sleep, I 
would steal a few moments from weariness, to lift up my 
thoughts to thy perfections, to meditate on thy wonderful 
dispensations, and to make my request known unto thee. 

Although the hours of this day have not been spent in the 
busy haunts of society, but in the pursuit of needful and godly 
knowledge, yet I am conscious that my thoughts and actions 
have been far from pure ; and many vain and foolish specu- 
lations, many sinful thoughts and ambitious anticipations, have 
obtruded themselves on my mind. I know that I have felt 
pleasure in what I ought to have abhorred, and that I have 
not had thy presence continually in mind ; so that my ghostly 
enemy has mixed poison with my best food, and sowed tares 
with the good seed of instruction. Sometimes, too, the world 
has had too much to do with my thoughts : I have longed for 
its pleasures, its splendours, its honours, and have forgotten 
that I am a poor follower of Jesus Christ, whose inheritance is 
not in this land, but in the fields above. I do therefore sup- 
plicate and beseech thee, oh, thou my God and Father ! that 
thou wilt not only forgive these my wanderings, but that thou 
wilt chasten my heart, and establish my affections, so that 
they may not be shaken by the light suggestions of the tempter 
Satan : and since I am of myself very weak, I implore thy 
restraining hand upon my understanding, that I may not 
reason in the pride of worldly wisdom, nor flatter myself on 
my attainments, but ever hold my judgment in subordination to 
thy word, and see myself as what I am, an helpless dependent 
on thy bounty. If a spirit of indolence and lassitude have 
at times crept on me, I pray thy forgiveness for it ; and if I 
have felt rather inclined to prosecute studies which procure 
respect from the world, than the humble knowledge which 
bscomes a servant of Christ, do thou check this growing pro- 
pensity, and only bless my studies so far as they conduce to 
thy glory, and as thy glory is their chief end. My heart, O 
Lord ! is but too fond of this vain and deceitful world, and I 
have many fears lest I should make shipwreck of my hope on 



180 HINTS, ETC. 

the rocks of ambition and vanity. Give me, I pray thee, thy 
grace to repress these propensities : illumine more completely 
my wandering mind, rectify my understanding, and give me a 
simple, humble, and affectionate heart, to love thee and thy 
sheep with all sincerity. As I increase in learning, let me 
increase in lowness of spirit ; and inasmuch as the habits of 
studious life, unless tempered by preventing grace, but too 
much tend to produce formality and lifelessness in devotion, 
do thou, heavenly Father, preserve me from all cold and 
speculative views of thy blessed Gospel; and while with 
regular constancy I kneel down daily before thee, do not fail 
to light up the lire of heavenly love in my bosom, and to draw 
my heart heavenward with earnest longings [to thyself]. 

And now, Blessed Redeemer ! my rock, my hope, and 
only sure defence, to thee do I cheerfully commit both my 
soul and my body. If thy wise Providence see fit, grant tha£ 
I may rise in the morning, refreshed with sleep, and with a 
spirit of cheerful activity for the duties of the day : but 
whether I wake here or in eternity, grant that my trust in thee 
may remain sure, and my hope unshaken. Our Father, &c. 

[This Prayer was discovered amongst some dirty loose papers of 
H. K. W.'s.] 



Memorandum. 

September 22, 1806. 

On running over the pages of this book, I am constrained | 
to observe, with sorrow and shame, that my progress in divine 
light has been little or none. 

I have made a few conquests over my corrupt inclinations, I 
but my heart still hankers after its old delights ; still lingers I 
half willing, half unwilling, in the ways of worldly-mindedness. J 

My knowledge of divine things is very little improved. I | 
have read less of the Scriptures than I did last year. In 
reading the Fathers, I have consulted rather the pride of my 
heart, than my spiritual good. 

I now turn to the cause of these evils, and I find that the 
great root, the main spring is — love of the world; next to 
that, pride ; next to that, spiritual sloth. 
[This Memorandum was written a very few weeks before his death.] 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 



SONNET, 
Addressed to H. K. White, on his Poems lately published. 

He^ry ! I greet thine entrance into life ! 

Snre presage that the myrmidons of fate, 

The fool's unmeaning laugh, the critic's hate, 

Will dire assail thee ; and the envious strife 

Of bookish schoolmen, beings over rife, 

Whose pia-mater studious is fill'd 

With unconnected matter, half distill' d 

From letter' d page, shall bare for thee the knife, 

Beneath whose edge the poet oft-times sinks : 

But fear not ! for thy modest work contains 

The germ of worth ; thy wild poetic strains, 

How sweet to him, untutor'd bard, who thinks 

Thy verse " has power to please, as soft it flows 

Through the smooth murmurs of the frequent close." 

G. L. C , 1803. 



SONNET, 
To Henry Kirke White, on his Poems lately published. 

BY ARTHUR OWEN, ESQ. 

Hail ! gifted youth, whose passion-breathing lay 
Portrays a mind attuned to noblest themes, 
A mind, which, wrapt in Fancy's high-wrought dreams, 

To nature's veriest bounds its daring way 



182 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Can wing : what charms throughout thy pages shine, 
To win with fairy thrill the melting soul ! 
Eor though along impassioned grandeur roll, 

Yet in full power simplicity is thine. 

Proceed, sweet bard ! and the heaVn-granted fire 
Of pity, glowing in thy feeling breast, 
May nought destroy, may nought thy soul divest 

Of joy — of rapture in the living lyre, 

Thou tunest so magically ; but may fame 
Each passing year add honours to thy name. 

Richmond, Sept., J 803. 



TO MR. H. K. WHITE. 

Hark ! 'tis some sprite who sweeps a fun'ral knell 

Eor Dermody no more. That fitful tone 

Erom Eolus' wild harp alone can swell, 
Or Chatterton assumes the lyre unknown. 

No ; list again ! 'tis Bateman's fatal sigh 

Swells with the breeze, and dies upon the stream : 

'Tis Margaret mourns, as swift she rushes by, 
Roused by the daemons from adulterous dream. 

Oh, say, sweet youth ! what genius fires thy soul ? 
The same which tuned the frantic nervous strain 
To the wild harp of Collins ? — By the pole, 
Or 'mid the seraphim and heav'nly train, 
Taught Milton everlasting secrets to unfold, 

To sing Hell's flaming gulf, or Heav'n high arch'd with 
gold? 

H TVelker. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 183 

LINES 
On the Death of Mr. Henry Kirke White. 

BY THE BEV. J. PLUMPTBE. 

Such talents and such piety combin'd, 
With such unfeign'd humility of mind, 
Bespoke him fair to tread the way to fame, 
And live an honour to the Christian name. 
But Heaven was pleased to stop his fleeting hour, 
And blight the fragrance of the opening flow'r. 
We mourn — but not for him, removed from pain ; 
Our loss, we trust, is his eternal gain : 
With him we'll strive to win the Saviour's love, 
And hope to join him with the blest above. 
24th Oct., 1806. 



SONNET 

OHf HENRY KIBKE WHITE. 






Master so early of the various lyre 

Energic, pure, sublime ! — Thus art thou gone ? 
In its bright dawn of fame that spirit flown 

Which breathed such sweetness, tenderness, and fire ! 

Wert thou but shown to win us to admire, 

And veil in death thy splendour ? — but unknown 
Their destination who least time have shone, 

And brightest beam'd. — When these the eternal sire, 

ii. 
—Righteous and wise, and good are all his ways — 

Eclipses as their sun begins to rise, 
Can mortal judge, for their diminish' d days, 

What blest equivalent in changeless skies, 
What sacred glory waits them ? — His the praise ; 

Gracious, whate'er he gives, whate'er denies. 

C. IiOEET. 
24th Oct., 1806. 



184 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

LINES 

On the Death of Mr. Henry Kirke White, late of St. John's 
College, Cambridge. 

WRITTEN ABOUT AND IN THAT COLLEGE. 

Sorrows are mine — then let me joys evade, 
And seek for sympathies in this lone shade. 
The glooms of death fall heavy on. my heart, 
And, between life and me, a truce impart. 
Genius has vanish' d in its opening bloom, 
And youth and beauty wither in the tomb ! 

Thought, ever prompt to lend th' inquiring eye, 
Pursues thy spirit through futurity. 
Does thy aspiring mind new powers essay, 
Or in suspended being wait the day, 
When earth shall fall before the awful train 
Of Heaven and Virtue's everlasting reign ? 

May goodness, which thy heart did once enthrone, 
Emit one ray to meliorate my own ! 
And for thy sake, when time affliction calm, 
Science shall please, and Poesy shall charm. 

I turn my steps whence issued all my woes, 
Where the dull courts monastic glooms impose ; 
Thence fled a spirit whose unbounded scope 
Surpass' d the fond creations e'en of hope. 

Along this path thy living step has fled, 
Along this path they bore thee to the dead. 
All that this languid eye can now survey 
Witness' d the vigour of thy fleeting day : 
And witness' d all, as speaks this anguish' d tear, 
The solemn progress of thy early bier. 

Sacred the walls that took thy parting breath, 
Own'd thee in life, encompass'd thee in death ! 

Oh ! I can feel as felt the sorrowing friend 
Who o'er thy corse in agony did bend ; 
Dead as thyself to all the world inspires, 
Paid the last rites mortality requires ; 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 185 

Closed the dim eye that beam'd with mind before ; 
Composed the icy limbs to move no more ! 

Some power the picture from my memory tear, 
Or feeling will rush onward to despair. 

Immortal hopes ! come, lend your blest relief, 
And raise the soul bow'd down with mortal grief; 
Teach it to look for comfort in the skies : 
Earth cannot give what Heaven's high will denies. 

Cambridge, Nov., 1806. 



SONNET 
Occasioned by the Death of H. Kirke White. 



Yes, fled already is thy vital fire, 

And the fair promise of thy early bloom 

Lost, in youth's mom extinct ; sunk in the tomb ; 

Mute in the grave sleeps thy enchanted lyre ! 

And is it vainly that our souls aspire ? 
Ealsely does the presaging heart presume 
That we shall live beyond life's cares and gloom ; 

Grasps it eternity with high desire, 

II. 

But to imagine bliss, feel woe, and die ; 
Leaving survivors to worse pangs than death ? 
Not such the sanction of the Eternal Mend. 
The harmonious order of the starry sky, 

And awful revelation's angel-breath, 
Assure these hopes their full effect shall find. 

C.L. 
25th Dec, 1806. 



186 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

WEITTEN IN THE HOMER OF MR. H. KIRKE WHITE. 
Presented to me by his Brother, J. Neville White. 

I. 

Bard of brief days, but all, of deathless fame ! 

While on these awful leaves my fond eyes rest, 

On which thine late have dwelt, thy hand late prest, 
I pause ; and gaze regretful on thy name. 
By neither chance, nor envy, time, nor name, 

Be it from this its mansion dispossest ! 

But thee Eternity clasps to her breast, 
And in celestial splendour thrones thy claim. 

ii. 

No more with mortal pencil shalt thou trace 

An imitative radiance :* thy pure lyre 
Springs from our changeful atmosphere's embrace, 

And beams and breathes in empyreal fire : 
The Homeric and Miltonian sacred tone 
Responsive hail that lyre congenial to their own. 

C. Loeft. 
Bury, 11th Jan., 1807. 



TO THE MEMORY OF H. K. WHITE. 

BY A LADY. 

Ie worth, if genius, to the world are dear, 
To Henry's shade devote no common tear. 
His worth on no precarious tenure hung, 
Prom genuine piety his virtues sprung : 
If pure benevolence, if steady sense, 
Can to the feeling heart delight dispense ; 
If all the highest efforts of the mind, 
Exalted, noble, elegant, refined, 

* Alludiug to his pencilled sketch of a head surrounded with a 
glory. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 187 

Call for fond sympathy's heartfelt regret, 
Ye sons of genius, pay the mournful debt : 
His friends can truly speak how large his claim 
And " Life was only wanting to his fame." 
Art Thou, indeed, dear youth, for ever fled ? 
So quickly number' d with the silent dead. 
Too sure I read it in the downcast eye, 
Hear it in mourning Friendship's stifled sigh. 
Ah ! could esteem, or admiration, save 
So dear an object from th' untimely grave. 
This transcript faint had not essay' d to tell, 
The loss of one beloved, revered so well. 
Vainly I try, even eloquence were weak, 
The silent sorrow that I feel, to speak. 
No more my hours of pain thy voice will cheer, 
And bind my spirit to this lower sphere : 
Bend o'er my suffering frame with gentle sigh, 
And bid new fire relume my languid eye : 
No more the pencil's mimic art command, 
And with kind pity guide my trembling hand ; 
Nor dwell upon the page in fond regard, 
To trace the meaning of the Tuscan bard. 
Yain all the pleasures Thou canst not inspire, 
And "in my breast th' imperfect joys expire." 
I fondly hoped thy hand might grace my shrine, 
And little dream' d I should have wept o'er thine : 
In Fancy's eye methought I saw thy lyre 
With virtue's energies each bosom fire ; 
I saw admiring nations press around, 
Eager to catch the animating sound : 
And when, at length, sunk in the shades of night, 
To brighter worlds thy spirit wing'd its flight, 
Thy country hail'd thy venerated shade, 
And each graced honour to thy memory paid. 
Such was the fate hope pictured to my view — 
But who, alas ! e'er found hope's visions true ? 
And, all ! a dark presage, when last we met, 
Sadden' d the social hour with deep regret ; 



]88 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

When Thou thy portrait from the minstrel drew, 

The living Edwin starting on my view — 

Silent, I ask'd of heaven a lengthen' d date ; 

His genius thine, but not like thine his fate. 

Shuddering I gazed, and saw too sure reveal' d, 

The fatal truth, by hope till then concealed. 

Too strong the portion of celestial flame 

For its weak tenement, the fragile frame ; 

Too soon for Us it sought its native sky, 

And soar'd impervious to the mortal eye ; 

Like some clear planet, shadow'd from our sight, 

Leaving behind long tracks of lucid light : 

So shall thy bright example fire each youth 

With love of virtue, piety, and truth. 

Long o'er thy loss shall grateful Granta mourn, 

And bid her sons revere thy favour' d urn. 

When thy loved flower " Spring's victory makes known," 

The primrose pale shall bloom for thee alone : 

Around thy urn the rosemary well spread, 

Whose "tender fragrance" — emblem of the dead — 

Shall "teach the maid, whose bloom no longer lives," 

That "virtue every perish'd grace survives." 

Farewell ! sweet Moralist ; heart-sick' ning grief 

Tells me in duty's paths to seek relief, 

With surer aim on faith's strong pinions rise, 

And seek hope's vanish' d anchor in the skies. 

Yet still on thee shall fond remembrance dwell, 

And to the world thy worth delight to tell; 

Though well I feel unworthy Thee the lays 

That to thy memory weeping Friendship pays. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 189 

STANZAS, 
Supposed to have been written at the Grave »/H. K. White. 

BY A LADY. 

Ye gentlest gales ! oh, hither waft, 

On airy undulating sweeps, 
Your frequent sighs, so passing soft, 

Where he, the youthful Poet, sleeps 
He breathed the purest, tenderest sigh, 
The sigh of sensibility. 

ii. 

And thou shalt lie, his fav'rite flower, 
Pale Primrose, on his grave reclined : 

Sweet emblem of his fleeting hour, 
And of his pure, his spotless mind ! 

Like thee, he sprung in lowly vale ; 

And felt, like thee, the trying gale. 

in. 

Nor hence thy pensive eye seclude, 

thou, the fragrant Rosemary, 
Where he, " in marble solitude, 

So peaceful, and so deep," doth lie ! 
His harp prophetic sung to thee 
In notes of sweetest minstrelsy. 

IY. 

Ye falling dews, oh ! ever leave 

Your crystal drops these flow'rs to steep • 

At earliest morn, at latest eve, 
Oh, let them for their Poet weep ! 

Por tears bedew' d his gentle eye, 

The tears of heavenly sympathy. 



190 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 



Thou western Sun, effuse thy beams; 

For he was wont to pace the glade, 
To watch iu pale uncertain gleams, 

The crimson-zoned horizon fade — 
Thy last, thy settling radiance pour, 
Where he is set to rise no more. 



ODE 

ON THE LATE HEXBT KIRKE WHITE. 

And is the minstrel's voyage o'er? 

And is the star of genius fled ? 
And will his magic harp no more, 

Mute in the mansions of the dead, 
Its strains seraphic pour ? 

A pilgrim in this world of woe, 
Condemn 5 d, alas ! awhile to stray, 

Where bristly thorns, where briers grow, 
He bade, to cheer the gloomy way, 

Its heavenly music flow. 

And oft he bade, by fame inspired, 
Its wild notes seek th' ethereal plain, 

Till angels, by its music fired, 
Have, list'ning, caught th' ecstatic strain, 

Have wonder' d, and admired. 

But now secure on happier shores, 
TVith choirs of sainted souls he sings ; 

His harp th' Omnipotent adores, 
And from its sweet, its silver strings 

Celestial music pours. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 191 

And though on earth no more he'll weave 
The lay that's fraught with magic fire, 

Yet oft shall fancy hear at eve 
His now exalted, heavenly lyre 

In sounds iEolian grieve. 

JlJVENIS. 
B. Stoke. 



VERSES 
Occasioned by the Death of Henry Kirlce White, 

What is this world at best, 
Though deck'd in vernal bloom, 
By hope and youthful fancy drest, 
What ' <d; a ceaseless toil for rest, 
A passage to the tomb ? 
If flow'rets strew 
The avenue, 
Though fair, alas ! how fading, and how few ! 

And every hour comes arm'd 
By sorrow, or by woe : 
Conceal' d beneath its little wings, 
A scythe the soft-shod pilf'rer brings, 
To lay some comfort low : 
Some tie t' unbind, 
By love entwined, 
Some silken bond that holds the captive mincl 

And every month displays 
The ravages of time : 
Eaded the flowers !— The Spring is past 
The scatter' d leaves, the wintry blast, 
Warn to a milder clime : 
'The songsters flee 
The leafless tree, 
And bear to happier realms their melody. 



192 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Henry ! the world no more 
Can claim thee for her own ! 
In purer skies thy radiance beams ! 
Thy lyre employ' d on nobler themes 
Before th' eternal throne : 
Yet, spirit dear, 
Eorgive the tear 
Which those must shed who 5 re doomed to linger here* 

Although a stranger, I 
In friendship's train would weep; 
Lost to the world, alas ! so young, 
And must thy lyre, in silence hung, 
On the dark cypress sleep ? 
The poet, all 
Their friend may call ; 
And Nature's self attends his funeral. 

Although with feeble wing 
Thy flight I would pursue, 
With quicken' d zeal, with humbled pride, 
Alike our object, hopes, and guide, 
One heaven alike in view ; 
True, it was thine 
To tower, to shine : 
But I may make thy milder virtues mine. 

If Jesus own my name 
(Though fame pronounced it never,) 
Sweet spirit, not with thee alone, 
But all whose absence here I moan, 
Circling with harps the golden throne, 
I shall unite for ever : 
At death then why 
Tremble or sigh ? 
Oh, who would wish to live, but he who fears to die ! 

JOSIAH CONDER. 
Dec. 5th, 180*. 



TRIBUTARY VEKSES. 1D3 



SONNET, 



On seeing another written to Henry Kirke White, in September, 
1803, inserted in his "Remains by Robert Southey" 



BY ARTHUR OWEN. 



Ah ! once again the long-left wires among, 
Truants the Muse to weave her requiem song ; 
With sterner lore now busied, erst the lay 
Cheer' d my dark morn of manhood, wont to stray 
O'er fancy's fields in quest of musky flower ; 

To me nor fragrant less, though barr'd from view 
And courtship of the world : hail'd was the hour 

That gave me, dripping fresh with nature's dew, 
Poor Henry's budding beauties — to a clime 

Hapless transplanted, whose exotic ray 

Eorced their young vigour into transient day, 
And drain'd the stalk that rear'd them ! and shall time 
Trample these orphan blossoms ? — No ! they breathe 
Still lovelier charms — for Southey culls the wreath ! 

Oxford, Dec. 17th, 1807. 



SONNET, 

IN MEMORY OF MR. H. K. WHITE. 

" 'Tis now the dead of night," and I will go 
To where the brook soft-murmuring glides along 

In the still wood ; yet does the plaintive song 
Of Philomela through the welkin flow; 
And while pale Cynthia carelessly doth throw 

Her dewy beams the verdant boughs among, 

Will sit beneath some spreading oak tree strong, 
And intermingle with the streams my woe : 
Hush'd in deep silence every gentle breeze ; 

No mortal breath disturbs the awful gloom ; 
o 



194 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Cold, chilling dew-drops trickle down the trees, 
And every flower withholds its rich perfume : 
5 Tis sorrow leads me to that sacred ground 
Where Henry moulders in a sleep profound ! 

J. G. 



REFLECTIONS, 
On reading the Life of the late Henry Kirke While. 

BY WILLIAM HOLLOWAY, AUTHOR OF "THE PEASANT'S FATE.' 

Darling of science and the Muse, 
How shall a son of song refuse 

To shed a tear for thee ? 
To us so soon, for ever lost, 
What hopes, what prospects have been cross'a 

By Heaven's supreme decree ? 

How could a parent, love-beguiled, 
In life's fair prime resign a child 

So duteous, good, and kind ? 
The warblers of the soothing strain 
Must string the elegiac lyre in vain 

To soothe the wounded mind ! 

Yet Eancy, hov'ring round the tomb, 
Half envies, while she mourns, thy doom, 

Dear poet, saint and sage ! 
Who into one short span, at best, 
The wisdom of an age comprest, 

A patriarch's lengthen 5 d age ! 

To him a genius sanctified, 
And purged from literary pride, 

A sacred boon was given : 
Chaste as the psalmist's harp, his lyre 
Celestial raptures could inspire, 

And lift the soul to Heaven. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 195 

s Twas not the laurel earth bestows, 
'Twas not the praL>e from man that flows, 

With classic toil he sought : 
He sought the crown that martyrs wear, 
When rescued from a world of care ; 

Their spirit, too, he caught. 

Here come, ye thoughtless, vain, and gay, 
Who idly range in Eolly's way, 

And learn the tvorth of time : 
Learn ye, whose days have run to waste, 
How to redeem this pearl at last, 

Atoning for your crime. 

This flower, that droop'd in one cold clime, 
Transplanted from the soil of time 

To immortality, 
In full perfection there shall bloom : 
And those who now lament his doom 

Must bow to God's decree. 

London, 27 h Feb., I8< 8. 



ON READING THE POEM ON SOLITUDE, 
In the second Volume of H. K. White's "Remains! 

But art thou thus indeed " alone ?" 
Quite unbefriended — all unknown ? 
And hast thou then His name forgot 
Who form'd thy frame, and fix'd thy lot? 

Is not his voice in evening's gale ? 
Beams not with him the " star" so pale ? 
Is there a leaf can fade and die, 
Unnoticed by his watchful eye ? 
o 2 



196 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Each flutt'ring hope — each anxious fear — 
Each lonely sigh — each silent tear — 
To thine Almighty Eriend are known ; 
And say'st thou, thou art " all alone ?" 

JOSIAH CONDER. 



TO THE MEMORY OF H. K. WHITE. 

BY THE REV. W. B. COLLYER, D.D. 

0, lost too soon ! accept the tear 
A stranger to thy memory pays ! 
Dear to the muse, to science dear I 
In the young morning of thy days ! 

All the mid notes that pity loved 
Awoke, responsive still to thee, 
While o'er the lyre thy fingers roved 
In softest, sweetest harmony. 

The chords that in the human heart, 
Compassion touches as her own, 
Bore in thy symphonies a part — 
With them in perfect unison. 

Amidst accumulated woes, 
That premature afflictions bring, 
Submission's sacred hymn arose, 
Warbled from every mournful string. 

When o'er thy dawn the darkness spread., 
And deeper every moment grew ; 
When rudely round thy youthful head 
The chilling blasts of sickness blew ; 

Religion heard no 'plainings loud, 
The sigh in secret stole from thee ; 
And Pity, from the " dropping cloud," 
Shed tears of holy symnathy. 



197 

TRIBUTARY VERSES. *' 

Cold is that heart in which were met 
More virtues than could ever die ; 
The morning-star of hope is set — 
The sun adorns another sky. 

partial grief ! to mourn the daj 
So suddenly o'er clouded here, 
To rise with unextinguished ray — ■ 
To shine in a superior sphere ! 

Oft genius early quits this sod, 
Impatient of a robe of clay, 
Spreads the light pinion, spurns the clod, 
And smiles, and soars, and steals away ! 

But more than genius urged thy flight, 
And mark'd the way, dear youth ! for thee : 
Henry sprang up to worlds of light, 
On wings of immortality ! 

Llacldieatk-liill, 2-ith June, 1808. 



ON THE DEATH OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY THOMAS PARK, ESQ., F.A.S. 

Too, too prophetic did thy wild note swell, 

Impassion'd minstrel ! when its pitying wail 
Sigh'd o'er the vernal primrose as it fell 

Untimely, wither' d by the northern gale * 
Thou wert that flower of promise and of prime ; 

Whose opening bloom, 'mid many an adverse blast, 
Charm'd the lone wanderer through this desert clime, 

But charm'd him with a rapture soon o'ercast, 
To see thee languish into quick decay. 

Yet was not thy departing immature ! 

* See " Clifton Grove," p. 16, ed. 1803. 



198 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Eor ripe in virtue thou wert reft away, 

And pure in spirit, as the blest are pure ; 
Pure as the dew-drop, freed from earthly leaven, 
That sparkles, is exhaled, and blends with heaven !* 



TO THE MEMORY OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY A LADY. 

While in full choir the solemn requiem swells, 
And bids the tranced thought sublimely soar, 
While Sorrow's breath inspires responsive shells, 
One strain of simple grief my reed would pour : 
No splendid offering 
Of lofty praise I bring ; 
Yet, sainted spirit ! own the pensive tear 
Shed in sad tribute on thine early bier. 

Soft as the airs that fan the waking spring, 

And on the margin of some melting rill, 
In music wild their sounds iEolian fling, 

When the pale North regains his empire chill, 
And all his fury dies, 
Thy touching minstrelsies 
With magic sweetness on thy spring arose, 
Then faintly murmuring, sunk to deep repose. 

For thee his glowing torch did Genius lire ! 

Who now its meteor brightness shall recall ? 

Too soon he bore it to thy funeral, 
And bid in drowning tears its flame expire. 
Eor thee did Eancy weave a chaplet wild, 

* Young, I think, says of Narcissa, "she sparkled, was exhaled, 
and went to Heaven." 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 199 

And from her woodland bower, 

With many a forest flower 
Enwreathe the brows of her much-favoured child ! 
Still they preserve a lasting bloom, 
But, ah ! they blossom on thy tomb ! 

Hush'd is the melting cadence of the lyre 
That once could sweetest melodies impart ; 
Its soften 5 d echoes vibrate on the heart, 
But dews of death have quench' d the poet's fire. 
Sure — 'twas a phoenix flame ; 
Kindled from heaven it came, 
And with its native* spark so closely blended, 
That soon to heaven impell'd, it re-ascended. 

As wandering o'er the waste of desert lands, 

Some wearied pilgrim seeks a holy shrine, 
And speeds him o'er the blaze of torrid sands, 

His soul with purest ardour to refine ; 
So to thy sacred turf would I repair, 

And while on Eame's recording page I see, 
Thy polish' d graces, and thy virtues fair, 

Thy wisdom mild or heaven-taught piety, 
The vestige of thy worth would share, 
And thence some precious relic bear. 

What, though no longer beaming here below, 
Thy radiant star of life has ceased to burn, 
Still shall its fire on Fancy's vision glow, 

And Memory shed her moonbeam on thine um. 
Though early vanish' d hence, an angel band 

Marked its swift progress o'er this realm of night, 
Watch' d the last lustre of its parting light, 
And hailed its rising on a fairer land. 
Above the flaming zone of day 
Sparkling with exhaustless ray, 
Eixed, shall it shine with living glory bright 
When Time's last midnight long has rolled away. 



200 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 



LINES 



Written on visiting the Rooms once inhabited by Henri/ Kirke 
White, in St. Johns College, Cambridge. 



BY AIRS. M. H. HAY. 



How awful ! how impressive is the gloom, 

How sacred is the silence that prevails 
'Mid these lone walls, where Henry met Iris doom ! 

My heart is full, my recollection fails ; 
Earth, and all earthly tilings, fade from my sight : 

My friends, so loved around me, disappear ; 
I almost see a dawn of heavenly light, 

And Henry's angel voice I seem to hear, 
Saying, " Poor Sister, dry the mortal tear, 

Nor let thy bosom swell with grief for me ; 
Learn first the bleeding cross on earth to bear, 

And then the bliss, now mine, shall gladden thee. 
'Mid scenes celestial e'en my soul can glow, 

And heavenly harmony can with me sing, 
To think these poor ' Remains' I left below, 

Shall kindred spirits to my pleasures bring. 
But, oh ! could I send down the faintest gleam, 

To wipe the earthy vapours from thine eyes, 
All human wisdom would appear a dream, 

And inspiration lead thee to the skies." 



A REFLECTION, 
On the early Death of Henry Kirke White, 

BY A LADY. 

The pensive snowdrop lifts her modest head,. 

While yet stern winter binds the icy stream, 
On chilling snow her taper leaves are spread, 

Uncheer'd by balmy dew and summer's beam. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 201 

Sweet flower ! not long thy spotless heart will fear 
The cruel blast that bows thy slender form : 

Thou wert not made for winter's frown severe ; 
Soon wilt thou droop, unconscious of the storm. 

Thus genius springs, and thus the storms of earth 
Nip the young bud, just opening to the day : 

Awhile it blooms, to prove its heavenly birth, 
Awhile it charms, then withers, — dies away. 

Thus Henry graced the world — Too soon the power 
Of stern affliction seized his youthful breast ; 

He saw the clouds arise, the tempest lower, 
He bowed his head, and meekly sunk to rest. 



EXTRACT FROM A POEM RECENTLY PUBLISHED. 

Unhappy White ! * while life was in its spring, 
And thy young muse just waved her joyous wing, 
The spoiler came ; and all thy promise fair 
Has sought the grave, to sleep for ever there. 
Oh ! what a noble heart was here undone, 
When Science' self destroyed her favourite son ! 
Yes ! she too much indulged thy fond pursuit : 
She sowed the seeds, but Death has reaped the fruit. 
'Twas thine own Genius gave the final blow, 
And helped to plant the wound that laid thee low : 

* Henry Kirke White died at Cambridge, in October, 1806, in 
consequence of too much exertioD in the pursuit of studies that 
would have matured a mind which disease and poverty could not 
impair, and which death itself destroyed rather than subdued. His 
poems abound in such beauties as must impress the reader with the 
liveliest regret, that so short a period was allotted to taleuts which 
would have dignified even the sacred functious he was destined to 
assume. 



202 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

So the struck eagle, stretch'd upon the plain, 
No more through rolling clouds to soar again, 
Yiewed his own feather on the fatal dart, 
And wing'd the shaft that quivered in his heart : 
Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel 
He nursed the pinion which impelTd the steel, 
While the same plumage that had warm'd his nest 
Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast. 



MONODY 
To the Memory of Henry Kirlce White. 

BY JOSEPH BLACEETT.* 



" No marble marks thy couch of lowly sleep, 
But living statues there are seen to weep; 
Afflictiou's semblance beuds not o'er thy tomb, 
Affliction's self deplores thy youthful doom!" 

Lord Byron 

To yon streamlet's rippling flow, 
Through the grove meand'ring slow, 
Heart-heaving sighs of sorrow let me pour, 
And those " living statues" join, 
Tor no " marble" grief is mine, 
Mine is sympathy's true tear, 
Love and pity's sigh sincere, 
And to " Affliction's self" I give the mournful hour ! 

What means yon new-raised mould beneath the yew ? 
And why scoop' d out the coffin's narrow cell, 
Fashion' d, alas ! to human shape and size ? 
Why crawls that earthworm from the dazzling ray 
Of day's unwelcome orb ? And why, at length, 

* Vide his Poems, recently published. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 203 

Lingering, advances, with grief-measured pace, 
The sable hearse, in raven plumes array'd? 
And, hark ! oh, hark ! the deep-toned funeral knell 
Breathes, audible, a sad and sullen sound ! 

Alas, poor youth ! for thee this robe of death ! 
Ye Nine, that lave in the Castalian spring, 
Whose full-toned waves, responsive to the strain 
Of your Parnassian harps, with solemn flow, 
Peal the deep dirge around, — pluck each a wreath 
Of baneful yew, and twine it round your lyres, 
Por your own Henry sleeps to wake no more ! 

Alas ! alas ! immortal youth ! 
Thine the richly varied song, 
Simple, clear, sublime, and strong ; 

Thy sunny eye beam'd on the page of Truth, 
Thy God adored, and, fraught with cherub fire, 
'Twas thine to strike, on earth, a heavenly lyre ! 

Ah ! lost too soon ! through tangled groves, 
'Midst the fresh dews no more 

He pensive roves 

The varied Passions to explore. 

Silent, silent, is his tongue, 

Whose notes so powerful through the woodlands rung, 

When on the wing of hoary Time,* 

With energy sublime, 
He soar'd, and left this lessening world below : — 
Hark ! hark ! methinks, e'en now, I hear his numbers flow 
Ah ! no, he sings no more. 

Oh ! thou greedy cormorant fell, 
Death ! insatiate monster ! tell, 
Why so soon was sped the dart 
Which pierced, alas ! his youthful heart ? 

* One of Kirke White's most animated and beautiful Poems, 
entitled " Time." 



204 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Oh, despoiler ! tyrant ! know, 

When thy arm, that dealt the blow, 

Wither' d sinks, inactive, cold, 

By a stronger arm controlTd, 
Then shall this yonth the song cf triumph raise, 
Throughout eternity immeasurable days ! 

Bard of nature, heaven-graced child ! 

Sweet, majestic, plaintive, wild; 

Who, on rapid pinion borne, 

Swifter than the breeze of morn, 

Circled now the Aonian mount, 

Now the Heliconian fount, 
Teach me to string thy harp, and wake its strain 
To mourn thy early fate, till every chord complain 

No ! let thy harp remain, 
On yon dark cypress hung, 
By death unstrung ; 

To touch it were profane ! 

But, now, oh ! now, at this deep hour, 

While I feel thy thrilling power ; 

While I steal from pillow' d sleep, 

O'er thy urn to bend and weep ; 

Spirit, robed in crystal light, 

On the fleecy clouds of night, 

Descend ; and, oh ! my breast inspire, 

With a portion of thy fire ; 

Teach my hand, at midnight's noon, 
Hover o'er me while I sing, 
Oh! spirit loved and bless' d, attune the string! 

Yes, now, when all around are sunk in rest ; 
And the night-vapour sails along the west ; 
When darkness, brooding o'er this nether ball, 
Encircles nature with her sable pall ; 
Still let me tarry, heedless of repose, 
To pour the bosom's — not the Muse's, woes ! 
To thy loved mem'ry heave the sigh sincere, 
And drop a kindred, — a prophetic, tear ! 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 205 

Fast flow, ye genial drops — 

Gush forth, ye tender sighs ! 

And who, dear shade ! can tell — but — 
While thus I, mournful, pause and weep for Thee, 
Shortly a sigh may heave, — a tear be shed, for me I 



ON VISITING THE TOMB OF H. K. WHITE. 

BY MRS. M. H. HAY. 

Oh ! spirit of the blest, forgive 
The mortal tear — the mortal sigh 

Thou knowest what it was to live 
And feel each human agony. 

I would not raise thy mould'ring form, 
Nor bring thy spirit from above, 

Could I a miracle perform, 
Much as thy beauteous soul I love. 

No, all I ask in fervent prayer, 
As o'er thy silent tomb I bend, 

That I, in heavenly scenes may share 
Thy converse, and become thy friend. 



LINES 



Written on reading the " Remains of Henry Kirke White, oj Not- 
tingham, late of St. John's College, Cambridge ; with an Account 
of his Life, by Robert Southey, Esq." 



Thy gentle spirit now is fled, 
Thy body in its earthy bed 

Is laid in peaceful sleep ; 
A spirit good and pure as thine, 
Best in immortal scenes can shine, 

Though friends are left to weep. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

When in this dreary dark abode, 
Bewildered in life's mazy road, 

The weary trav'ller sighs ; 
A rising star sometimes appears, 
Illumes the path, his bosom cheers, 

And lights him to the skies. 

Oh, had thy valued life been spared, 
Hadst thou the vineyard's labour shared, 

Wnat glowing fruits of love 
Thou might st have added to the stores 
Purchased by Him thy soul adores, 

Now in the realms above. 

Ah ! loss severe ! reflect, ye great, 
Ye rich, ye powerful, on the fate 

Of merit's early doom ; 
Those dazzling gems ye so much prize. 
Perhaps in dread array may rise 

In judgment from the tomb. 

A single gem of useless show, 
Might everlasting lustre throw 

Upon the eternal mind ; 
Did gentle offices employ 
Those hours which fashion's ways destroy, 

Those hours for good design'd. 

Peruse the letters of a youth, 

"Whose pen was dipt in heavenly truth, 

His virtuous struggles trace ; 
Then will thy melting bosom bleed, 
And quicken there the precious seed 

Of self-renewing grace. 

Then will be clearly understood, 
" The luxury of doing good :" 

And ! how happy they 
"Whose means are great, and hearts are large, 
Who best the sacred trust discharge 

To Him who will repay. 




Childhood.— P. 207 



^arX) 






POE 

WRITTEN BEFORE THE 

CLIFTON GROVE 



4$cg^ 







CHILDHOOD : 



This is one of Henry's earliest productions, and appears, by the 
handwriting, to have been written when he ^as between fourteen 
and fifteen. The picture of the schoolmistress is from nature. 

Part I. 

Pictured in memory's mellowing glass, how sweet 
Oar infant days, out infant joys to greet ; 
To roam in fancy in each cherish' d scene, 
The village churchyard, and the village green. 
The woodland walk remote, the greenwood glade, 
The mossy seat beneath the hawthorn's shade, 
The whitewash' d cottage, where the woodbine grew, 
And all the lavonrite haunts our childhood knew ! 
How sweet, while all the evil shuns the gaze, 
To view the unclouded skies of former days ! 

Beloved age of innocence and smiles, 
When each wing'd hour some new delight beguiles, 
"When the gay heart, to life's sweet day-spring true, 
Still finds some insect pleasure to pursue. 



208 POEMS OF 

Blest Childhood, hail ! — Thee simply will I sing, 
And from myself the artless picture bring ; 
These long-lost scenes to me the past restore, 
Each hnmble friend, each pleasure, now no more, 
And ev'ry stump familiar to my sight, 
Recalls some fond idea of delight. 

This shrubby knoll was once my favourite seat ; 

Here did I love at evening to retreat, 

And muse alone, till in the vault of night, 

Hesper, aspiring, show'd his golden light. 

Here once again, remote from human noise, 

I sit me down to think of former joys ; 

Pause on each scene, each treasured scene, once more, 

And once again each infant walk explore, 

While as each grove and lawn I recognise, 

My melted soul suffuses in my eyes. 

And oh ! thou Power, whose myriad trains resort 
To distant scenes, and picture them to thought ; 
"Whose mirror, held unto the mourner's eye, 
Plings to his soul a borrow 5 d gleam of joy ; 
Blest Memory, guide, with finger nicely true, 
Back to my youth my retrospective view ; 
Recall with faithful vigour to my mind 
Each face familiar, each relation kind ; 
And all the finer traits of them afford, 
Whose general outline in my heart is stored. 

In yonder cot, along whose mouldering walls, 
In many a fold, the mantling woodbine falls, 
The village matron kept her little school, 
Gentle of heart, yet knowing well to rule ; 
Staid was the dame, and modest was her mien ; 
Her garb was coarse, yet whole, and nicely clean : 
Her neatly-border'd cap, as lily fair, 
Beneath her chin was piiui'd with decent care ; 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 209 

And pendant ruffles, of the whitest lawn, 

Of ancient make, her elbows did adorn. 

Eaint with old age, and dim were grown her eyes, 

A pair of spectacles their want supplies ; 

These does she guard secure, in leathern case, 

Prom thoughtless wights, in some unweeted place. 

Here first I enter' d, though with toil and pain, 

The low vestibule of learning's fane : 

Enter' d with pain, yet soon I found the way, 

Though sometimes toilsome, many a sweet display. 

Much did I grieve, on that ill-fated morn, 

Tv r hen I was first to school reluctant borne ; 

Severe I thought the dame, though oft she try'd 

To soothe my swelling spirits when I sigh'd ; 

And oft, when harshly she reproved, I wept, 

To my lone corner brokenhearted crept, 

And thought of tender home, where anger never kept. 

But soon inured to alphabetic toils, 
Alert I met the dame with jocund smiles ; 
Eirst at the form, my task for ever true, 
A little favourite rapidly I grew : 
And oft she stroked my head with fond delight, 
Held me a pattern to the dunce's sight ; 
And as she gave my diligence its praise, 
Talk'd of the honours of my future days. 

Oh, had the venerable matron thought 

Of all the ills by talent often brought ; 

Could she have seen me when revolving years 

Had brought me deeper in the vale of tears, 

Then had she wept, and wish'd my wayward fate 

Had been a lowlier, an unlette'r'd state ; 

Wish'd that, remote from worldly woes and strife, 

Unknown, unheard, I might have pass'd through life. 

Where in the busy scene, by peace unblest, 
Shall the poor wanderer find a place of rest ? 



210 POEMS OF 

A lonely mariner on the stormy main. 

Without a hope, the calms of peace to gain ; 

Long toss'd by tempests o'er the world's wide shore, 

When shall his spirit rest, to toil no more ? 

Not till the light foam of the sea shall lave 

The sandy surface of his unwept grave. 

Childhood, to thee I turn, from life's alarms, 

Serenest season of perpetual calms, — 

Turn with delight, and bid the passions cease, 

And joy to think with thee I tasted peace. 

Sweet reign of innocence, when no crime defiles, 

But each new object brings attendant smiles ; 

When future evils never haunt the sight, 

But all is pregnant with unmixt delight ; 

To thee I turn, from riot and from noise, — 

Turn to partake of more congenial joys, 

'Neath yonder elm, that stands upon the moor, 

When the clock spoke the hour of labour o'er, 

What clamorous throngs, what happy groupes were seen, 

In various postures scattering o'er the green ! 

Some shoot the marble, others join the chace 

Of self-made stag, or run the emulous race ; 

While others, seated on the dappled grass, 

With doleful tales the light- wing' d minutes pass. 

Well I remember how, with gesture starch' d, 

A band of soldiers, oft with pride we march'd ; 

For banners, to a tall ash we did bind 

Our handkerchiefs, napping to the whistling wind ; 

And for our warlike arms we sought the mead, 

And guns and spears we made of brittle reed ; 

Then, in uncouth array, our feats to crown, 

We storm' d some ruin'd pig-sty for a town. 

Pleased with our gay disports, the dame was wont 
To set her wheel before the cottage front, 
And o'er her spectacles would often peer, 
To view our gambols, and our boyish gear. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 211 

Still as she look'd, her wheel kept turning round, 
With its beloved monotony of sound. 
When tired with play, we'd set us by her side, 
(For out of school she never knew to chide) — 
And wonder at her skill — well known to fame — 
Por who could match in spinning with the dame ? 
Her sheets, her linen, which she show'd with pride 
To strangers, still her thriftness testified ; 
Though we poor wights did wonder much, in troth, 
How 'twas her spinning manufactured cloth. 

Oft would we leave, though well beloved, our play, 
To chat at home the vacant hour away. 
Many's the time I've scampered down the glade, 
To ask the promised ditty from the maid, 
Which well she loved, as well she knew to sing, 
While we around her formed a little ring : 
She told of innocence, foredoom'd to bleed, 
Of wicked guardians bent on bloody deed, 
Or little children murder' d as they slept ; 
While at each pause we wrung our hands and wept. 
Sad was such tale, and wonder much did we, 
Such hearts of stone there in the world could be. 
Poor simple wights, ah ! little did we ween 
The ills that wait on man in life's sad scene ! 
Ah, little thought that we ourselves should know, 
This world's a world of weeping and of woe I 

Beloved moment ! then 'twas first I caught 
The first foundation of romantic thought. 
Then first I shed bold Fancy's thrilling tear, 
Then first that poesy charm'd mine infant ear. 
Soon stored with much of legendary lore, 
The sports of childhood charm'd my soul no more. 
Tar from the scene of gaiety and noise, 
Far, far from turbulent and empty joys, 
I hied me to the thick o'erarching shade, 
And there, on mossy carpet listless laid, 
p 2 



212 POEMS OF 

While at my feet the rippling runnel ran, 
The days of wild romance antique I'd scan ; 
Soar on the wings of fancy through the air, 
To realms of light, and pierce the radiance there. 
* * * * 



Paet n. 

There are, who think that Childhood does not share 
With age the cup, the hitter cup of care : 
Alas ! they know not this unhappy truth, 
That every age, and rank, is born to ruth. 

From the first dawn of reason in the mind, 
Man is foredoom' d the thorns of grief to find ; 
At every step has further cause to know, 
The draught of pleasure still is dash'd with woe. 

Yet in the youthful breast, for ever caught 
With some new object for romantic thought, 
The impression of the moment quickly flies, 
And with the morrow every sorrow dies. 

How different manhood ! — then does thought's control 

Sink every pang still deeper in the soul ; 

Then keen Affliction's sad unceasing smart, 

Becomes a painful resident in the heart ; 

And Care, whom not the gayest can outbrave, 

Pursues its feeble victim to the grave. 

Then, as each long-known friend is summon' d hence, 

We feel a void no joy can recompence, 

And as we weep o'er every new-made tomb, 

Wish that ourselves the next may meet our doom. 

Yes, Childhood, thee no rankling woes pursue, 
No forms of future ill salute thy view, 
No pangs repentant bid thee wake to weep, 
But Halcyon peace protects thy downy sleep, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

And sanguine Hope through every storm of life, 
Shoots her bright beams, and calms the internal strife. 
Yet e'en round childhood's heart, a thoughtless shrine, 
Affection's little thread will ever twine ; 
And though but frail may seem each tender tie, 
The soul foregoes them but with many a sigh. 
Thus, when the long-expected moment came, 
When forced to leave the gentle-hearted dame, 
Reluctant throbbings rose within my breast, 
And a still tear my silent grief express' d. 

When to the public school compell'd to go, 
What novel scenes did on my senses flow ! 
There in each breast each active power dilates, 
Which 'broils whole nations, and convulses stales ; 
There reigns by turns alternate, love and hate, 
Ambition burns, and factious rebels prate ; 
And in a smaller range, a smaller sphere, 
The dark deformities of man appear. 
Yet there the gentler virtues kindred claim, 
There Friendship lights her pure untainted flame, 
There mild Benevolence delights to dwell, 
And sweet Contentment rests without her cell ; 
And there, 'mid many a stormy soul, we find 
The good of heart, the intelligent of mind. 

'Twas there, oh George ! with thee I learn'd to join 
In Friendship's bands — in amity divine. 
Oh, mournful thought ! — Where is thy spirit now ? 
As here I sit on fav'rite Logar's brow, 
And trace below each well-remember' d glade, 
W here, arm in arm, erewhile with thee I stray' d. 
Where art thou laid — on what untrodden shore, 
Where nought is heard save ocean's sullen roar ? 
Dost thou in lowly, unlamented state, 
At last repose from all the storms of fate ? 
Methmks I see thee struggling with the wave, 
Without one aiding hand stretch' d out to save ; 



214 POEMS OF 

See thee convulsed, thy looks to Heaven bend, 
And send thy parting sigh nnto thy friend. 
Or where immeasurable wilds dismay, 
Eorlorn and sad thou bend'st thy weary way, 
"While sorrow and disease, with anguish rife, 
Consume apace the ebbing springs of life. 
Again I see his door against thee shut, 
The unfeeling native turn thee from his hut : 
I see thee spent with toil, and worn with grief, 
Sit on the grass, and wish the long'd relief; 
Then lie thee down, the stormy struggle o'er, 
Think on thy native land — and rise no more ! 

Oh that thou couldst, from thine august abode, 
Survey thy friend in life's dismaying road, 
That thou couldst see him at this moment hero, 
Embalm thy memory with a pious tear, 
And hover o'er him as he gazes round, 
Where all the scenes of infant joys surround. 

Yes ! yes ! his spirit's near ! — The whispering breez 
Conveys his voice sad sighing on the trees : 
And lo ! his form transparent I perceive, 
Borne on the grey mist of the sullen eve : 
He hovers near, clad in the night's dim robe, 
While deathly silence reigns upon the globe. 

Yet ah ! whence comes this visionary scene ? 
'Tis fancy's wild aerial dream I ween ; 
By her inspired, when reason takes its flight, 
What fond illusions beam upon the sight ! 
She waves her hand, and lo ! what forms appear ! 
What magic sounds salute the wondering ear ! 
Once more o'er distant regions do we tread, 
And the cold grave yields up its cherish' d dead - 
While present sorrows banish' d far away, 
Unclouded azure gilds the placid day, 




Childhood. Part II.— P. 215 



/► 



HEXKY KIEKE WHITE. 215 

Or in the future's cloud-encircled face, 
Eaii- scenes of bliss to come we fondly trace, 
And draw rninutely every little wile, 
Which shall the feathery hours of time beguile. 

So when forlorn, and lonesome at her gate, 

The Royal Mary solitary sate, 

And view'd the moonbeam trembling on the wave, 

And heard the hollow surge her prison lave, 

Towards Erance's distant coast she bent her sight, 

Eor there her soul had wing'd its longing flight ; 

There did she form full many a scheme of joy, 

Visions of bliss unclouded with alloy, 

Tniich bright through hope's deceitful optics beam'd, 

And all became the surety which it seem'd ; 

She wept, yet felt, while all within was calm, 

In every tear a melancholy charm. 

To yonder hill, whose sides, deform'd and steep, 

Just yield a scanty sust'nance to the sheep, 

With thee, my friend, I oftentimes have sped, 

To see the sun rise from his healthy bed ; 

To watch the aspect of the summer morn, 

Smiling upon the golden fields of corn, 

And taste, delighted, of superior joys, 

Beheld through sympathy's enchanted eyes : 

With silent admiration oft we view'd 

The myriad hues o'er heaven's blue concave strew'd 

The fleecy clouds, of every tint and shade, 

Hound which the silvery sunbeam glancing play'd, 

And the round orb itself, in azure throne, 

Just peeping o'er the blue hill's ridgy zone : 

We mark'd, delighted, how with aspect gay, 

Reviving nature hail'd returning day ; 

Mark'd how the flowrets rear'd their dro oping heads. 

And the wild lambkins bounded o'er the meads, 

While from each tree, in tones of sweet delight, 

The birds sung poeans to the source of light : 



-16 P0E1I3 OF 

Oft have we watch' d the speckled lark arise, 
Leave his grass bed, and soar to kindred skies, 
And rise, and rise, till the pain'd sight no more 
Conld trace him in his high aerial tour ; 
Though on the ear, at intervals, his song 
Came wafted slow the wavy breeze along ; 
And we have thought how happy were our lot, 
.Bless' d with some sweet, some solitary cot, 
"Where, from the peep of day, till russet eve 
Began in every dell her forms to weave, 
We might pursue our sports from day to day, 
And in each other's arms wear life away. 

At sultry noon, too, when our toils were done, 
We to the gloomy glen were wont to run ; 
There on the turf we lay, while at our feet 
The cooling rivulet rippled softly sweet ; 
And mused on holy theme, and ancient lore, 
Of deeds, and days, and heroes now no more ; 
Heard, as his solemn harp Isaiah swept, 
Sung woe unto the wicked land — and wept ; 
Or, fancy led, saw Jeremiah mourn 
In solemn sorrow o'er Judea's urn. 
Then to another shore perhaps would rove. 
With Plato talk in his Ilyssian grove ; 
Or, wand'ring where the Thespian palace rose, 
Weep once again o'er fair Jocasta's woes. 

Sweet then to us was that romantic band, 
The ancient legends of our native land — 
Chivalric Britomart, and Una fair, 
And courteous Constance, doom'd to dark despair, 
By turns our thoughts engaged ; and oft we talk'd 
Of times when monarch Superstition stalk' d, 
And when the blood-fraught galliots of Home 
Brought the grand Druid fabric to its doom ; 
While where the wood-hung Menai's waters flow, 
The hoary harpers pour'd the strain of woe. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 217 

While thus employ' d, to us how sad the bell 
W r hich summon' d us to school ! 'Twas Taney's kneu, 
And sadly sounding on the sullen ear, 
It spoke of study pale, and chilling fear. 
Yet even then, (for oh, what chains can bind, 
What powers control, the energies of mind ?) 
E'en there we soar'd to many a height sublime, 
And many a day-dream charm' d the lazy time. 

At evening too, how pleasing was our walk, 

Endear' d by Eriendship's unrestrained talk, 

"When to the upland heights we bent our way, 

To view the last beam of departing day ; 

How calm was all around ! no playful breeze 

Sigh'd 'mid the wavy foliage of the trees, 

But all was still, save when, with drowsy song; 

The grey-fly wound his sullen horn along ; 

And save when, heard in soft, yet merry glee, 

The distant church- bells' mellow harmony ; 

The silver mirror of the lucid brook, 

That 'mid the tufted broom its still course took ; 

The rugged arch, that clasp'd its silent tides, 

W r ith moss and rank weeds hanging down its side3 : 

The craggy rock, that jutted on the sight ; 

The shrieking bat, that took its heavy flight ; 

All, all was pregnant with divine delight. 

We loved to watch the swallow swimming high, 

In the bright azure of the vaulted sky ; 

Or gaze upon the clouds, whose colour'd pride 

Was scatter' d thinly o'er the welkin wide, 

And tinged with such variety of shade, 

To the charm' d soul sublimest thoughts convey J d. 

In these what forms romantic did we trace, 

While fancy led us o'er the realms of space ! 

Now we espied the thunderer in his car, 

Leading the embattled seraphim to war, 

Then stately towers descried, sublimely high, 

In Gothic grandeur frowning on the sky — 



218 P0E3IS OF 

Or saw, wide stretching o'er the azure height, 
A ridge of glaciers in mural white, 
Hugely terrific. — But those times are o'er, 
And the fond scene can charm mine eyes no more ; 
For thou art gone, and I am left below, 



The scene is o'er — still seasons onward roll, 

And each revolve conducts me towards the goal ; 

Yet all is blank, without one soft relief, 

One endless continuity of grief; 

And the tired soul, now led to thoughts sublime, 

Looks but for rest beyond the bounds of time. 

Toil on, toil on, ye busy crowds, that pant 

Eor hoards of wealth which ye will never want ; 

And, lost to all but gain, with ease resign 

The calms of peace and happiness divine ! 

Ear other cares be mine. — Men little crave, 

In this short journey to the silent grave; 

And the poor peasant, bless' d with peace and health, 

I envy more than Croesus with his wealth. 

Yet grieve not I, that fate did not decree 

Paternal acres to await on me ; 

She gave me more, she placed within my breast 

A heart with little pleased — with little blest : 

I look around me, where, on every side, 

Extensive manors spread in wealthy pride ; 

And could my sight be borne to either zone, 

I should not find one foot of land my own. 

But whither do I wander ? shall the Muse, 
Eor golden baits, her simple theme refuse ; 
Oh no ! but while the weary spirit greets 
The fading scenes of Childhood's far-gone sweets, 
It catches all the infant's wandering tongue, 
And prattles on in desultory song. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 219 

That song must close — the gloomy mists of night 
Obscure the pale stars' visionary light, 
And ebon darkness, clad in vapoury wet, 
Steals on the welkin in primeval jet. 

The song must close. — Once more my adverse lot 
Leads me reluctant from this cherish' d spot 
Again compels to plunge in busy life, 
And brave the hateful turbulence of strife. 

Scenes of my youth — ere my unwilling feet 
Are turn'd for ever from this loved retreat, 
Ere on these fields, with plenty cover'd o'er, 
My eyes are closed to ope on them no more, 
Let me ejaculate to feeling due, 
One long, one last, affectionate adieu. 
Grant that, if ever Providence should please 
To give me an old age of peace and ease, 
Grant that in these sequester' d shades my days 
May wear away in gradual decays : 
And oh, ye spirits, who unbodied play, 
Unseen upon the pinions of the day, 
Kind genii of my native fields benign, 
Who were ***-•• 



220 POEMS OP 

FRAGMENT 

OF 

AN ECCENTRIC DRAMA. 

WRITTEN AT A VERY EARLY AGE. 

In a little volume which the author had copied out, apparently for 
the press, before the publication of ' ( Clifton Grove," the song 
with which this fragment commences was inserted, under the 
title of "The Dance of the Consumptives, in imitation of 
Shakspeare, taken from an Eccentric Drama, written by H. 
K. W. when very young." The rest was discovered among his 
loose papers, in the first rude draught, having, to all appearance, 
never been transcribed. The song was extracted when he was 
sixteen, and must have been written at least a year before — pro- 
bably more, by the handwriting. There is something strikingly 
wild and original in the fragment. 

THE DANCE OF THE CONSUMPTIVES. 



Ding-dong ! ding-dong ! 
Merry, merry, go the bells, 

Ding-dong ! ding-dong ! 
Over the heath, over the moor, and over the dale, 

" Swinging slow with snllen roar," 
Dance, dance away, tne locuna ronndelay ! 
Ding-dong, ding-dong, calls us away. 



Round the oak, and round the elm, 
Merrily foot it o'er the ground ! 

The sentry ghost it stands aloof, 
So merrily, merrily, foot it round. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 221 

Ding-dong! ding-dong 
Merry, merry, go the bells, 
Swelling in the nightly gale. 
The sentry ghost, 
It keeps its post, 
And soon, and soon, our sports must fail : 
But let us trip the nightly ground, 
While the merry, merry, bells ring round. 

hi. 

Hark ! hark ! the death-watch ticks ! 
See, see, the winding-sheet ! 

Our dance is done, 

Our race is run, 
And we must lie at the alder's feet 

Ding-dong, ding-dong, 

Merry, merry, go the bells, 
Swinging o'er the weltering wave ! 

And we must seek 

Our deathbeds bleak, 
Where the green sod grows upon the grave. 

{They vanish — The Goddess of Consumption descends, habited in 
a sky-blue Robe — Attended by mournful Music.) 

Come, Melancholy, sister mine ! 

Cold the dews, and chill the night : 
Come from thy dreary shrine ! 

The wan moon climbs the heavenly height, 
And underneath her sickly ray, 
Troops of squalid spectres play, 
And the dying mortal's groan 
Startles the night on her dusky throne. 
Come, come, sister mine ! 
Gliding on the pale moonshine : 
We'll ride at ease, 
On the tainted breeze, 
And oh ! our sport will be divine. 



222 pokms op 

{The Goddess of Melancholy advances out of a deep Glen in the rear 
habited in Black, and covered icith a thick Veil — She speaks.) 

Sister, from my dark abode, 
Where nests the raven, sits the toad, 
Hither I come, at thy command ; 
Sister, sister, join thy hand ! 
I will smooth the way for thee, 
Thon shalt fnrnish food for me. 
Come, let ns speed onr way 
"Where the troops of spectres play. 
To charnel-houses, churchyards drear, 
"Where Death sits with a horrible leer, 
A lasting grin on a throne of bones, 
And skim along the blue tombstones. 
Come, let ns speed away, 
Lay our snares, and spread onr tether ! 
I will smoothe the way for thee, 
Thon shalt furnish food for me ; 
And the grass shall wave 
O'er many a grave, 
Where youth and beauty sleep together. 

COXSTDIPTION. 

Come, let us speed our way ! 
Join our hands, and spread our tether ! 
I will furnish food for thee, 
Thou shalt smoothe the way for me , 
And the grass shall wave 
O'er many a grave, 
WTiere youth and beauty sleep together, 

MELAXCHOLY. 

Hist, sister, hist ! who comes here ? 
Oh, I know her by that tear, 
By that blue eye's languid glare, 
By her skin, and by her hair : 

She is mine, 

And she is thine, 
Now the deadliest draught prepare. 



HENRY K1RKE WHITE. 223 

CONSUMPTION. 

In the dismal night air drest, 
I will creep into her breast ; 
Flush her cheek, and bleach her skin, 
And feed on the vital fire within. 
Lover, do not trust her eyes, — 
When they sparkle most she dies ! 
Mother, do not trust her breath, — 
Comfort she will breathe in death ! 
Father, do not strive to save her, — 
She is mine, and I must have her ! 
The coffin must be her bridal bed ; 
The windingsheet must wrap her head ; 
The whispering winds must o'er her sigh, 
For soon in the grave the maid must lie. 

The worm it will riot 

On heavenly diet, 
When death has deflower'd her eye. 

{They vanish. 
While Consumption speaks, Angelina enters. 
ANGELINA, 

With* what a silent and dejected pace 
Dost thou, wan moon ! upon thy way advance 
In the blue welkin's vault ! — Pale wanderer ! 
Hast thou too felt the pangs of hopeless love, 
That thus, with such a melancholy grace, 
Thou dost pursue thy solitary course ? 
Hast thy Endymion, smooth-faced boy, forsook 
Thy widow'd breast — on which the spoiler oft 
Has nestled fondly, while the silver clouds 
Fantastic pillow' d thee, and the dim night, 
Obsequious to thy will, encurtain'd round 

With how sad steps, Moon ! thou climb'st the skies, 
How silently, and with how wan a face ! 

Sir P. Sidney. 



-2-i POEMS OF 

With its thick fringe thy couch ? — Wan traveller, 
How like thy fate to mine ! — Yet I have still 
One heavenly hope remaining, which thou lack'st ; 
My woes will soon be buried in the grave 
Of kind forgetfulness : — my journey here, 
Though it be darksome, joyless, and forlorn, 
Is yet but short, and soon my weary feet 
Will greet the peaceful inn of lasting rest. 
But thou, unhappy Queen ! art doom'd to trace 
Thy lonely walk in the drear realms of night, 
While many a lagging age shall sweep beneath 
The leaden pinions of unshaken time ; 
Though not a hope shall spread its glittering hue 
To cheat thy steps along the weary way. 

Oh that the sum of human happiness 

Should be so trifling, and so frail withal, 

That when possest, it is but lessen' d grief; 

And even then there's scarce a sudden gust 

That blows across the dismal waste of life, 

But bears it from the view. — Oh 1 who would shun 

The hour that cuts from earth, and fear to press 

The calm and peaceful pillows of the grave, 

And yet endure the various ills of life, 

And dark vicissitudes ! — Soon, I hope, I feel, 

And am assured, that I shall lay my head, 

My weary aching head, on its last rest, 

And on my lowly bed the grass-green sod 

Will flourish sweetly. — And then they will weep 

That one so young, and what they 're pleased to call 

So beautiful, should die so soon — And tell 

How painful disappointment's canker d fang 

Wither' d the rose upon my maiden cheek. 

Oh foolish ones ! why, I shall sleep so sweetly, 

Laid in my darksome grave, that they themselves 

Might envy me my rest ! — And as for them, 

W 7 ho, on the score of former intimacy, 

May thus remembrance me — they must themselves 

Successive ML 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 225 

Around the winter fire 
(When out-a-doors the biting frost congeals, 
And shrill the skater's irons on the pool 
Ring loud, as by the moonlight he performs 
His graceful evolutions) they not long 
Shall sit and chat of older times, and feats 
Of early youth, but silent, one by one, 
Shall drop into their shrouds. — Some, in their age, 
Ripe for the sickle ; others young, like me, 
And falling green beneath the untimely stroke. 
Thus, in short time, in the churchyard forlorn, 
Where I shall lie, my friends will lay them down, 
And dwell with me, a happy family. 
And oh, thou cruel, yet beloved youth, 
Who now hast left me hopeless here to mourn, 
Do thou but shed one tear upon my corse, 
And say that I was gentle, and deserved 
A better lover, and I shall forgive 
All, all thy wrongs ; — and then do thou forget 
The hapless Margaret, and be as blest 
As wish can make thee. — Laugh, and play, and sing, 
With thy dear choice, and never think of me. 

Yet hist, I hear a step. — In this dark wood — 
* * * * 



TO A FRIEND. 

WRITTEN AT A VERY EARLY AGE. 

I've read, my friend, of Dioclesian, 
And many another noble Grecian, 
Who wealth and palaces resign' d, 
In cots the joys of peace to find ; 
Maximian's meal of turnip-tops, 
(Disgusting food to dainty chops,) 



226 POEMS OF 

I've also read of, without wonder : 

But such a curst egregious blunder, 

As that a man, of wit and sense, 

Should leave his books to hoard up pence,— 

Forsake the loved Aonian maids, 

For all the petty tricks of trades, 

I never, either now, or long since, 

Have heard of such a piece of nonsense ; 

That one who learning's joys hath felt, 

And at the Muse's altar knelt, 

Should leave a life of sacred leisure, 

To taste the accumulating pleasure ; 

And metamorphosed to an alley duck, 

Grovel in loads of kindred muck. 

Oh * 'tis beyond my comprehension ! 

A courtier throwing up his pension,— 

A lawyer working without a fee, 

A parson giving charity, 

A truly pious methodist preacher, 

Are not, egad, so out of nature. 

Had nature made thee half a fool, 

But given thee wit to keep a school, 

I had not stared at thy backsliding ; 

But when thy wit I can confide in, 

When well I know thy just pretence 

To solid and exalted sense ; 

When well I know that on thy head 

Philosophy her lights hath shed, 

I stand aghast ! thy virtues sum to, 

And wonder what this world will come to ! 

Yet, whence this strain ? shall I repine 
That thou alone dost singly shine ? 
Shall I lament that thou alone, 
Of men of parts, hast prudence known ? 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 227 

LINES, ON READING THE POEMS OF WARTON. 

AGE FOURTEEN. 

Warton ! to thy soothing shell, 
Stretch' d remote in hermit cell, 
Where the brook runs babbling by, 
For ever I could listening lie ; 
And catching all the Muses' fire, 
Hold converse with the tuneful quire. 

What pleasing themes thy page adorn ! 
The ruddy streaks of cheerful morn, 
The pastoral pipe, the ode sublime, 
And melancholy's mournful chime, 
Each with unwonted graces shines 
In thy ever lovely lines. 

Thy muse deserves the lasting meed ; 
Attuning sweet the Dorian reed, 
Now the lovelorn swain complains, 
And sings his sorrows to the plains ; 
Now the sylvan scenes appear 
Through all the changes of the year; 
Or the elegiac strain 
Softly sings of mental pain, 
And mournful diapasons sail 
On the faintly-dying gale. 

But, ah ! the soothing scene is o'er ! 

On middle flight we cease to soar, 
For now the Muse assumes a bolder sweep, 
Strikes on the lyric string her sorrows deep, 

In strains unheard before. 
Now, now the rising fire thrills high, 
Now, now to heaven's high realms we fly, 

And every throne explore ; 
Q2 



228 poems op 

The soul entranced, on mighty wings, 
With all the poet's heat, up springs, 

And loses earthly woes ; 
Till all alarmed at the giddy height, 
The Muse descends on gentler flight, 

And lulls the wearied soul to soft repose. 



TO THE MUSE. 

WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF FOURTEEN. 



Ill-fated maid, in whose unhappy train 
Chill poverty and misery are seen, 

Anguish and discontent, the unhappy bane 
Of life, and blackener of each brighter scene ; 

Why to thy votaries dost thou give to feel 
So keenly all the scorns— the jeers of life ? 
Why not endow them to endure the strife 

With apathy's invulnerable steel, 

Or self-content and ease, each torturing wound to heal. 



Ah ! who would taste your self-deluding joys, 
That lure the unwary to a wretched doom, 

That bid fair views and flattering hopes arise, 
Then hurl them headlong to a lasting tomb ? 

What is the charm which leads thy victims on 
To persevere in paths that lead to woe ? 
What can induce them in that route to go, 

In which innumerous before have gone, 

And died in misery, poor and woe-begone ? 

in. 

Yet can I ask wbat charms in thee are found: 
I, who have drank from thine ethereal rill, 

And tasted all the pleasures that abound 
Upon Parnassus, loved Aonian hill ? 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 229 

I, through whose soul the Muses' straius aye thrill ! 
Oh ! I do feel the spell with which I'm tied ; 

And though our annals fearful stories tell, 
How Savage languish' d, and how Otway died. 
Yet must I persevere, let whate'er will betide. 



SONG. 

WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF FOURTEEN. 
I. 

Softly, softly, blow, ye breezes, 

Gently o'er my Edwy fly ! 
Lo ! he slumbers, slumbers sweetly ; 
Softly, zephyrs, pass him by ! 
My love is asleep, 
He lies by the deep, 
All along where the salt waves sigh. 



I have cover'd him with rushes, 
Water-flags, and branches dry. 
Edwy, long have been thy slumbers ; 
Edwy, Edwy, ope thine eye ! 
My love is asleep, 
He lies by the deep, 
All along where the salt waves sigh. 

in. 

Still he sleeps ; he will not waken, 

Eastly closed is his eye ; 
Paler is his cheek, and chiller 
Than the icy moon on high. 
Alas ! he is dead, 
He has chose his deathbed 
All along where the salt waves sigh. 



230 POEMS OP 



Is it, is it so, my Edwy ? 

Will thy slumbers never fly ? 
Couldst thou think I would survive thee r 
No, my love, thou bidst me die. 
Thou bidst me seek 
Thy death-bed bleak 
All along where the salt waves sigh. 

v. 

I will gently kiss thy cold lips, 

On thy breast I'll lay my head, 
And the winds shall sing our death-dirge, 
And our shroud the waters spread ; 
The moon will smile sweet, 
And the wild wave will beat> 
Oh ! so softly o'er our lonely bed. 



THE WANDERING BOY. 

A SONG. 
I. 

When the winter wind whistles along the wild moor, 
And the cottager shuts on the beggar his door ; 
When the chilling tear stands in my comfortless eye, 
Oh, how hard is the lot of the wandering boy ! 

ii. 
The winter is cold, and I have no vest, 
And my heart it is cold as it beats in my breast ; 
No father, no mother, no kindred have 1, 
For I am a parentless wandering boy. 

in. 
Yet I once had a home, and I once had a sire, 
A mother, who granted each infant desire ; 
Our cottage it stood in a wood-embower'd vale, 
Where the ringdove would warble its sorrowful tale. 



HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 231 

IV. 

But my father and mother were summon' d away, 
And they left me to hardhearted strangers a prey ; 
I fled from their rigour with many a sigh, 
And now I'm a poor little wandering boy. 

v. 

The wind it is keen, and the snow loads the gale, 
And no one will list to my innocent tale ; 
I'll go to the grave where my parents both lie, 
And death shall befriend the poor wandering boy. 



FEAGMENT. 



The western gale, 

Mild as the kisses of connubial love, 
Plays round my languid limbs, as all dissolved, 
Beneath the ancient elm's fantastic shade 
I lie, exhausted with the noontide heat ; 
While rippling o'er its deep-worn pebble bed, 
The rapid rivulet rushes at my feet, 
Dispensing coolness. — On the fringed marge 
Pull many a flowret rears its head, — or pink, 
Or gaudy daffodil. — 'Tis here, at noon, 
The buskin'd wood-nymphs from the heat retire, 
And lave them in the fountain ; here secure 
Prom Pan, or savage satyr, they disport ; 
Or stretch' d supinely on the velvet turf, 
Lull'd by the laden bee, or sultry fly, 
Invoke the God of slumber. * * * 



And hark, how merrily, from distant tower, 
Ring round the village bells ! now on the gale 
They rise with gradual swell, distinct and loud ; 
Anon they die upon the pensive ear, 
Melting in faintest music. — They bespeak 



232 POEMS OF 

A day of jubilee, and oft they bear 
Commixt along the unfrequented shore, 
The sound of village dance and tabor loud, 
Startling the musing ear of solitude. 

Such is the jocund wake of Whitsuntide, 
When happy Superstition, gabbling eld ! 
Holds her unhurtful gambols. — All the day 
The rustic revellers ply the mazy dance, 
On the smooth-shaven green, and then at eve 
Commence the harmless rites and auguries ; 
And many a tale of ancient days goes round. 
They tell of wizard seer, whose potent spells 
Could hold in dreadful thrall the labouring moon, 
Or draw the fix'd stars from their eminence, 
And still the midnight tempest. — Then anon, 
Tell of uncharnel'd spectres, seen to glide 
Along the lone wood's unfrequented path, 
Startling the nighted traveller ; while the sound 
Of undistinguish'd murmurs, heard to come 
Erom the dark centre of the deep'ning glen, 
Struck on his frozen ear. 

Oh, Ignorance, 
Thou art faH'n man's best friend ! With thee he speeds 
In frigid apathy along his way, 
And never does the tear of agony 
Burn down his scorching cheek ; or the keen steel 
Of wounded feeling penetrate his breast. 

E'en now, as leaning on this fragrant bank, 

I taste of all the keener happiness 

Which sense refined affords — E'en now my heart 

Would fain induce me to forsake the world, 

Throw off these garments, and in shepherd's weeds, 

With a small flock, and short suspended reed, 

To sojourn in the woodland. — Then my thought 

Draws such gay pictures of ideal bliss, 

That I could almost err in reason's spite, 

And trespass on my judgment. 




Whitsuntide.— P. 232, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 233 

Such is life : 
The distant prospect always seems more fair, 
And when attain 5 d, another still succeeds 
Far fairer than before, — yet compass'd round 
"With the same dangers, and the same dismay. 
And we poor pilgrims in this dreary maze, 
Still discontented, chase the fairy form 
Of unsubstantial happiness, to find, 
When life itself is sinking in the strife, 
'Tis but an airy bubble and a cheat. 



CANZONET. 



Maiden ! wrap thy mantle round thee, 

Cold the rain beats on thy breast : 
"Why should horror's voice astound thee l 
Death can bid the wretched rest ! 
All under the tree 
Thy bed may be, 
And thou mayst slumber peacefully. 



Maiden ! once gay pleasure knew thee ; 

Now thy cheeks are pale and deep : 
Love has been a ielon to thee ; 
Yet, poor maiden do not weep : 
There's rest for thee 
All under the tree, 
Where thou wilt sleep most peacefully. 



234 poems of 



COMMENCEMENT OF A POEM 

ON DESPATB. 

Some to Aonian lyres of silver sound 

With winning elegance attune their song, 

Porm'd to sink lightly on the soothed sense, 

And charm the soul with softest harmony : 

"lis then that Hope with sanguine eye is seen 

Roving through Fancy's gay futurity ; 

Her heart light dancing to the sounds of pleasure, 

Pleasure of days to come. — Memory too then 

Comes with her sister, Melancholy sad, 

Pensively musing on the scenes of youth, 

Scenes never to return.* 

Such subjects merit poets used to raise 

The Attic verse harmonious ; but for me 

A dreadlier theme demands my backward hand, 

And bids me strike the strings of dissonance 

With frantic energy. 

5 Tis wan Despair I sing ; if sing I can, 

Of him before whose blast the voice of song, 

And mirth, and hope, and happiness, all fly, 

Nor ever dare return. His notes are heard 

At noon of night, where, on the coast of blood, 

The lacerated son of Angola 

Howls forth his suff 'rings to the moaning wind ; 

And, when the awful silence of the night 

Strikes the chill death-dew to the murd'rer's heart, 

He speaks in every conscience-prompted word 

Half utter' d, half suppress' d — 

'Tis him I sing — Despair — terrific name, 

Striking unsteadily the tremulous chord 

Of timorous terror — discord in the sound • 

Tor to a theme revolting as is this, 

* Alluding to the two pleasing poems, the "Pleasures of Hope' 5 
and of " Memory." 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 235 

Dare not I woo the maids of harmony, 
Who love to sit, and catch the soothing sound 
Of lyre iEolian, or the martial bugle, 
Calling the hero to the field of glory, 
And firing him with deeds of high emprise, 
And warlike triumph : but from scenes like mine 
Shrink they affrighted, and detest the bard 
Who dares to sound the hollow tones of horror. 

Hence, then, soft maids, 
And woo the silken zephyr in the bowers 
By Heliconia's sleep-inviting stream : 
For aid like yours I seek not ; 'tis for powers 
Of darker hue to inspire a verse like mine ! 
'Tis work for wizards, sorcerers, and fiends ! 

Hither, ye furious imps of Acheron, 
Nurslings of hell, and beings shunning light, 
And all the myriads of the burning concave ; 
Souls of the damned; — Hither, oh! come and join 
Th' infernal chorus. 5 Tis Despair I sing ! 
He, whose sole tooth inflicts a deadlier pang 
Than all your tortures join'd. Sing, sing Despair ! 
Hepeat the sound, and celebrate his power ; 
Unite shouts, screams, and agonizing shrieks, 
Till the loud psean ring through hell's high vault, 
And the remotest spirits of the deep 
Leap from the lake, and join the dreadful song. 



TO THE WIND. 

AT MIDNIGHT. 

Not unfamiliar to mine ear, 
Blasts of the night ! ye howl as now 
My shudd'ring casement loud 
With fitful force ye beat. 



236 POEMS OF 

Mine ear has dwelt in silent awe, 
The howling sweep, the sudden rush ; 
And when the passing gale 
Pour'd deep the hollow dirge. 
* * * * 



THE EVE OF DEATH. 

IRREGULAR. 
I. 

Silence of Death — portentous calm, 

Those airy forms that yonder fly, 
Denote that your void foreruns a storm, 

That the hour of fate is nigh. 
I see, I see, on the dim mist borne, 

The Spirit of battles rear his crest ! 
I see, I see, that ere the morn, 

His spear will forsake its hated rest, 
And the widow' d wife of Larrendill will beat her naked 
breast. 

II. 

O'er the smooth bosom of the sullen deep 

No softly-ruffling zephyrs fly ; 
But nature sleeps a deathless sleep, 

Eor the hour of battle is nigh. 
Not a loose leaf waves on the dusky oak, 

But a creeping stillness reigns around ; 
Except when the raven, with ominous croak, 

On the ear does unwelcomely sound. 
I know, I know, what this silence means, 

I know what the raven saith — 
Strike, oh, ye bards ! the melancholy harp, 

Tor this is the eve of death. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 237 



III. 



Behold, how along the twilight air 

The shades of our fathers glide ! 
There Morven fled, with the blood-drench'd hair, 

And Colma with grey side. 
No gale around its coolness flings, 

Yet sadly sigh the gloomy trees ; 
And hark, how the harp's unvisited strings 

Sound sweet, as if swept by a whispering breeze ! 
'Tis done ! the sun he has set in blood ! 

He will never set more to the brave ; 
Let us pour to the hero the dirge of death— 

Por to-morrow he hies to the grave. 



THANATOS. 

Oh ! who would cherish life, 
And cling unto this heavy clog of clay—- 

Love this rude world of strife, 
Where glooms and tempests cloud the fairest day ! 
And where, 'neath outward smiles 

Conceal' d, the snake lies feeding on its prey, 

Where pitfalls lie in ev'ry flowery way, 

And syrens lure the wanderer to their wiles ! 
Hateful it is to me, 
Its riotous railings and revengeful strife ; 

I'm tired with all its screams and brutal shouts 
Dinning the ear ; — away — away with life ! 

And welcome, oh ! thou silent maid, 

Who in some foggy vault art laid, 

Where never daylight's dazzling ray 

Comes to disturb thy dismal sway ; 

And there amid unwholesome damps dost sleep, 

In such forgetful slumbers deep, 

That all thy senses stupified, 

Are to marble petrified. 



238 POEMS OF 

Sleepy Death, I welcome thee ! 

Sweet are thy calms to misery. 

Poppies I will ask no more, 

Nor the fatal hellebore ; 

Death is the best, the only cure, 

His are slumbers ever sure. 

Lay me in the Gothic tomb, 

In whose solemn fretted gloom 

I may lie in mouldering state, 

With all the grandeur of the great : 

Over me, magnificent, 

Carve a stately monument ; 

Then thereon my statue lay, 

With hands in attitude to pray, 

And angels serve to hold my head, 

Weeping o'er the father dead. 

Duly too at close of day, 

Let the pealing organ play ; 

And while the harmonious thunders roll, 

Chant a vesper to my soul : 

Thus how sweet my sleep will be, 

Shut out from thoughtful misery ! 



ATHANATOS. 

Away with death — away 
With all her sluggish sleeps and chilling damps 

Impervious to the day, 
Where nature sinks into inanity. 
How can the soul desire 
Such hateful nothingness to crave, 
And yield with joy the vital fire 
To moulder in the grave ! 

Yet mortal life is sad, 
Eternal storms molest its sullen sky ; 

And sorrows ever rife 
Drain the sacred fountain dry — 
Away with mortal life ! 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 239 

But, hail the calm reality. 

The seraph Immortality, 

Hail the heavenly bowers of peace, 

Where all the storms of passion cease. 

Wild life's dismaying struggle o'er, 

The wearied spirit weeps no more ; 

But wears the eternal smile of joy, 

Tasting bliss without alloy. 

Welcome, welcome, happy bowers, 

Where no passing tempest lowers ; 

But the azure heavens display 

The everlasting smile of day ; 

Where the choral seraph choir, 

Strike to praise the harmonious lyre ; 

And the spirit sinks to ease, 

Lull'd by distant symphonies. 

Oh ! to think of meeting there 

The friends whose graves received our tear, 

The daughter loved, the wife adored, 

To our widow' d arms restored ; 

And all the joys which death did sever, 

Given to us again for ever ! 

Who would cling to wretched life, 

And hug the poison'd thorn of strife — 

Who would not long from earth to fly. 

A sluggish senseless lump to lie, 

When the glorious prospect lies 

Full before his raptured eyes ? 



MUSIC. 

Written between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, with a few 
subsequent verbal alterations. 

Music, all-powerful o'er the human mind, 
Can still each mental storm, each tumult calm, 

Soothe anxious care on sleepless couch reclined, 
And e'en fierce anger's furious rage disarm. 



240 POEMS OF 

At her command the various passions lie ; 

She stirs to battle, or she lulls to peace, 
Melts the charm' d soul to thrilling ecstasy, 

And bids the jarring world's harsh clangour cease. 

Her martial sounds can fainting troops inspire 
With strength unwonted, and enthusiasm raise, 

Infuse new ardour, and with youthful fire 

Urge on the warrior grey with length of days. 

Tar better she when with her soothing lyre 
She charms the falchion from the savage grasp, 

And melting into pity vengeful ire, 

Looses the bloody breastplate's iron clasp. 

With her in pensive mood I long to roam, 
At midnight's hour, or evening's calm decline, 

And thoughtful o'er the falling streamlet's foam, 
In calm seclusion's hermit walks recline. 

Whilst mellow sounds from distant copse arise, 
Of softest flute or reeds harmonic joined, 

With rapture thrill'd each worldly passion dies, 
And pleased attention claims the passive mind. 

Soft through the dell the dying strains retire, 
Then burst majestic in the varied swell; 

Now breathe melodious as the Grecian lyre, 
Or on the ear in sinking cadence dwell. 

Romantic sounds ! such is the bliss ye give, 

That heaven's bright scenes seem bursting on the soul 

With joy I'd yield each sensual wish to live 
Tor ever 'neath your undenled control. 

Oh, surely melody from heaven was sent, 
To cheer the soul when tired with human strife, 

To soothe the wayward heart by sorrow rent, 
And soften down the rugged road of life. 




rhe Harvest Moon.— P. 241. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 241 



ODE TO THE HARVEST MOON. 



• Cum ruit imbriferum ver: 



Spicea jam campis cum messis inhorruit, et cum 
Frumenta in viridi stipula lactentia turgent ; 

* * * * 

Cunct tibi Cererem pubes agrestis adoret. 

Virgil. 

Moon of harvest, herald mild 
Of plenty, rustic labour's child, 
Hail ! oh hail ! I greet thy beam, 
As soft it trembles o'er the stream, 
And gilds the straw-thatch' d hamlet wide, 
Where innocence and peace reside ; 
'Tis thou that glad'st with joy the rustic throng, 
Promptest the tripping dance, th } exhilarating song. 

Moon of harvest, I do love 

O'er the uplands now to rove, 

While thy modest ray serene 

Gilds the wide surrounding scene ; 

And to watch thee riding high 

In the blue vault of the sky, 
Where no thin vapour intercepts thy ray, 
But in unclouded majesty thou walkest on thy way. 

Pleasing 'tis, modest moon ! 
Now the night is at her noon, 
'Neath thy sway to musing lie, 
While around the zephyrs sigh, 
Panning soft the sun-tann'd wheat, 
Ripen' d by the summer's heat ; 
Picturing all the rustic's joy 
When boundless plenty greets his eye, 

And thinking soon, 

Oh, modest moon ! 

B 



242 POEMS OF 

How many a female eye will roam 

Along the road, 

To see the load, 
The last dear load of harvest home. 

Storms and tempests, floods and rains, 

Stern despoilers of the plains, 

Hence away, the season flee, 

Foes to light-heart jollity ; 

May no winds careering high, 

Drive the clonds along the sky ; 
But may all nature smile with aspect boon, 
When in the heavens thou show'st thy face, oh, Harvest 
Moon ! 

'Neath yon lowly roof he lies, 
The husbandman, with sleep-seal* d eyes ; 
He dreams of crowded barns, and round 
The yard he hears the flail resound ; 
Oh ! may no hurricane destroy 
His visionary views of joy : 
God of the winds ! oh, hear his humble prayer, 
And while the moon of harvest shines, thy blust'ring 
whirlwind sp?re. 

Sons of luxury to you 

Leave I sleep's dull power to woo : 

Press ye still the downy bed, 

While fev'rish dreams surround your head , 

I will seek the woodland glade, 

Penetrate the thickest shade, 

Wrapt in contemplation's dreams, 

Musing high on holy themes, 

While on the gale 

Shall softly sail 
The nightingale's enchanting tune, 

And oft my eyes 

Shall grateful rise 
To thee, the modest Harvest Moon ! 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 243 

THE SHIPWRECKED SOLITARTS SONG, 

TO THE NIGHT. 

Thou, spirit of the spangled night ! 
I woo thee from the watch-tower high, 
Where thou dost sit to guide the bark 
Of lonely mariner. 

The winds are whistling o'er the wolds, 
The distant main is moaning low ; 
Come, let us sit and weave a song — 
A melancholy song ! 

Sweet is the scented gale of morn, 
And sweet the noontide's fervid beam, 
But sweeter far the solemn calm 

That marks thy mournful reign, 

I've passed here many a lonely year, 

And never human voice have heard : 

I've pass'd here many a lonely year, 

A solitary man. 

And I have linger' d in the shade, 
From sultry noon's hot beam. And I 
Have knelt before my wicker door, 
To sing my ev'ning song. 

And I have hail'd the grey morn high, 
On the blue mountain's misty brow, 
And try to tune my little reed 
To hymns ot harmony. 

But never could I tune my reed, 
At morn, or noon, or eve, so sweet, 
As when upon the ocean shore 

I hail'd thy star-beam mild. 
r 2 



244 POEMS OF HEXRY KTRKE WHITE. 

The day-spring brings not joy to me, 
The moon it whispers not of peace ; 
But oh ! when darkness robes the heav'ns, 
My woes are mix'd with joy. 

And then I talk, and often think 
Aerial voices answer me ; 
And oh ! I am not then alone — 
A solitary man. 

And when the blust'ring winter winds 
Howl in the woods that clothe my cave, 
I lay me on my lonely mat, 

And pleasant are my dreams. 

And Fancy gives me back my wife ; 
And Fancy gives me back my child ; 
She gives me back my little home, 
And all its placid joys. 

Then hateful is the morning hour, 
That calls me from the dream of bliss, 
To find myself still lone, and hear 

The same dull sounds again. 

The deep-toned winds, the moaning sea 
The whisp'ring of the boding trees, 
The brook's eternal flow, and oft 

The Condor's hollow scream. 



CLIFTON GROVE. 



This, and the folio wins: Poems, are reprinted from the little volume, 
whicn the Author published m 1803. 



TO 

HER GRACE 

THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE, 

THE FOLLOWING 

TRIFLING EFFUSIONS 

OF 

A VERY YOUTHFUL MUSE. 

ARE 



BY PERMISSION DEDICATED, 

BY HEU GRACE'S 

MUCH OBLIGED AND GRATEFUL SERVANT, 

HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 
Nottingham* 



PREFACE. 



The following attempts in verse are laid before the public 
with extreme diffidence. The author is very conscious that 
the juvenile efforts of a youth, who has not received the 
polish of academical discipline, and who has been but 
sparingly blessed with opportunities for the prosecution of 
scholastic pursuits, must necessarily be defective in the 
accuracy and finished elegance, which mark the works of 
the man who has passed his life in the retirement of his 
study, furnishing his mind with images, and at the same 
time attaining the power of disposing those images to the 
best advantage. 

The unpremeditated effusions of a boy, from his thirteenth 
year, employed, not in the acquisition of literary information, 
but in the more active business of life, must not be expected 
to exhibit any considerable portion of the correctness of a 
Virgil, or the vigorous compression of a Horace. Men are 
not, I believe, frequently known to bestow much labour on 
their amusements : and these poems were, most of them 
written merely to beguile a leisure hour, or to fill up the 
languid intervals of studies of a severer nature. 

Has to olk€los epyov aya7racD. "Every one loves his own 
work," says the Stagyrite ; but it was no overweening 
affection of this kind which induced this publication. Had 
the author relied on his own judgment only, these poems 
would not, in all probability, ever have seen the light. 

Perhaps it may be asked of him, what are his motives for 
this publication ? He answers — simply these : the facilitation 
through its means of those studies which, from his earliest 



248 PREFACE. 

infancy, have been the principal objects of bis ambition ; and 
the increase of the capacity to pursue those inclinations 
which may one day place him in an honourable station in 
the scale of society. 

The principal poem in this little collection (Clifton Grove) is, 
he fears, deficient in numbers, and harmonious coherency of 
parts. It is, however, merely to be regarded as a description 
of a nocturnal ramble in that charming retreat, accompanied 
with such reflections as the scene naturally suggested. It 
was written twelve months ago, when the author was in his 
sixteenth year. The Miscellanies are some of them the 
productions of a very early age. Of the Odes, that " To an 
early Primrose," was written at thirteen — the others are of 
a later date. — The sonnets are chiefly irregular; they have, 
perhaps, no other claim to that specific denomination, than 
that they consist only of fourteen lines. 

Such are the poems, towards which I entreat the lenity of 
the public. The critic will doubtless find in them much to 
condemn, he may likewise, possibly, discover something to 
commend. Let him scan my faults with an indulgent eye, 
and in the work of that correction which I invite, let him 
remember, he is holding the iron Mace of Criticism over 
the flimsy superstructure of a youth of seventeen, and 
remembering that, may he forbear from crushing by too 
much rigour, the painted butterfly, whose transient colours 
may otherwise be capable of affording a moment's innocent 
amusement. 

E. K. White. 

Nottingham. 



TO MY LYRE. 

AN ODE. 
I. 

Thou simple Lyre ! — Thy music wild 

Has served to charm the weary hour, 
And many a lonely night has 'guiled, 
When even pain has own'd and smiled, 
Its fascinating power. 

ii. 

Yet, oh, my Lyre ! the busy crowd 
Will little heed thy simple tones : 
Them, mightier minstrels harping loud 
Engross, — and thou, and I, must shroud 
Where dark oblivion 'thiones. 

in. 

No hand, thy diapason o'er, 

Well skiird, I throw with sweep sublime ; 
For me, no academic lore 
Has taught the solemn strain to pour, 

Or build the polish 5 d rhyme. 

TV. 

Yet thou to Sylvan themes canst soar ; 

Thou know'st to charm the woodland train : 
The rustic swains believe thy power 
Can hush the wild winds when they roar, 
4 - A «till the billowy main. 



250 POEMS OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

A". 

These honours, Lyre, we yet may keep, 
I, still unknown, may live with thee, 
And gentle zephyr's wing will sweep 
Thy solemn string, where low I sleep, 
Beneath the alder tree. 

VI. 

This little dirge will please me more 

Than the full requiem's swelling peal ; 
I'd rather than that crowds should sigh 
For me, that from some kindred eye 
The trickling tear should steal. 

VII. 

Yet dear to me the wreath of bay, 

Perhaps from me debarr'd ; 
And dear to me the classic zone, 
"Which snatch' d froni learning's labour'd throne, 

Adorns the accepted bard. 

YIII. 

And ! if yet 'twere mine to dwell 
Where Cam, or Isis, winds along, 

Perchance, inspired with ardour chaste, 

I yet might call the ear of taste 
To listen to my song. 

IX. 

Oh ! then, my little friend, thy style 

Pd change to happier lays, 
Oh ! then, the cloister'd glooms should smile, 
And through the long, the fretted aisle 

Should swell the note of praise. 




Clifton Grove —P 251. 



251 



CLIFTON GROVE. 

A SKETCH IN VERSE. 

Lo ! in the west, fast fades the lingering light, 
And day's last vestige takes its silent flight. 
No more is heard the woodman's measnred stroke 
Which, with the dawn, from yonder dingle broke ; 
No more, hoarse clamouring o'er the uplifted head, 
The crows assembling, seek their wind-rock'd bed 
Still' d is the village hum— the woodland sounds 
Have ceased to echo o'er the dewy grounds, 
And general silence reigns, save when below, 
The murmuring Trent is scarcely heard to flow ; 
And save when, swung by 'nighted rustic late, 
Oft, on its hinge, rebounds the jarring gate : 
Or, when the sheep bell, in the distant vale, 
Breathes its wild music on the downy gale. 

Now, when the rustic wears the social smile, 
Released from day and its attendant toil, 
And draws his household round their evening Are, 
And tells the oft-told tales that never tire : 
Or, where the town's blue turrets dimly rise, 
And manufacture taints the ambient skies, 
The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom, 
The air-pent hold, the pestilential room, 
And rushes out, impatient to begin 
The stated course of customary sin : 
Now, now, my solitary way I bend 
Where solemn groves in awful state impend, 
And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain, 
Bespeak, blest Clifton ! thy sublime domain. 
Here, lonely wandering o'er the sylvan bower, 
I come to pass the meditative hour ; 



252 POEMS OF 

To bid awhile the strife of passion cease, 

And woo the calms of solitnde and peace. 

And oh ! thon sacred power, who rear'st on high 

Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh ! 

Genins of woodland shades ! whose mild control 

Steals with resistless witchery to the soul, 

Come with thy wonted ardour and inspire 

My glowing bosom with thy hallowed fire. 

And thou, too, Fancy ! from thy starry sphere, 

Where to the hymning orbs thou lend'st thine ear, 

Do thou descend, and bless my ravish' d sight, 

Veil'd in soft visions of serene delight. 

At thy command the gale that passes by 

Bears in its whispers mystic harmony. 

Thou wav'st thy wand, and lo ! what forms appear ! 

On the dark cloud what giant shapes career ! 

The ghosts of Ossian skim the misty vale, 

And hosts of Sylphids on the moon-beam sail. 

This gloomy alcove, darkling to the sight, 
Where meeting trees create eternal night ; 
Save, when from yonder stream, the sunny ray, 
Reflected gives a dubious gleam of day ; 
Recalls endearing to my alter' cl mind, 
Times, when beneath the boxen hedge reclined 
I watch 5 d the lapwing to her clamorous brood; 
Or lured the robin to its scatter' d food . 
Or woke with song the woodland echo wild, 
And at each gay response delighted, smiled. 
How oft, when childhood threw its golden ray 
Of gay romance o'er every happy day, 
Here would I run, a visionary boy, 
When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky, 
And fancy -led, beheld the Almighty's form 
Sternly careering on the eddying storm ; 
And heard, while awe congeal'd my inmost soul, 
His voice terrific in the thunders roll. 
With secret joy, I view'd with vivid glare, 
The volley' d lightnings cleave the sullen air; 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 253 

And, as the warring winds around reviled, 

With awful pleasure big, — I heard and smil'd. 

Beloved remembrance ! — Memory which endears 

This silent spot to my advancing years. 

Here dwells eternal peace, eternal rest, 

In shades like these to live, is to be blest. 

While happiness evades the busy crowd, 

In rural coverts loves the maid to shroud. 

And thou, too, Inspiration, whose wild name 

Shoots with electric swiftness through the frame, 

Thou here dost love to sit, with up -turn 5 d eye, 

And listen to the stream that murmurs by, 

The woods that wave, the grey-owl's silken night, 

The mellow music of the listening night. 

Congenial calms more welcome to my breast 

Than maddening joy in dazzling lustre drest, 

To Heaven my prayers, my daily prayers I raise, 

That ye may bless my unambitious days, 

Withdrawn, remote, from all the haunts of strife 

May trace with me the lowly vale of life, 

And when her banner Death shall o'er me wave 

May keep your peaceful vigils on my grave. 

Now, as I rove, where wide the prospect grows, 

A livelier light upon my vision flows. 

No more above, the embracing brauches meet ; 

No more the river gurgles at my feet, 

But seen deep down the cliff's impending side 

Through hanging woods, now gleams its silver tide. 

Dim is my upland path, — across the Green 

Fantastic shadows fling, yet oft between 

The chequer' d glooms, the moon her chaste ray sheds, 

Where knots of blue-bells droop their graceful heads, 

And beds of violets blooming 'mid the trees, 

Load with waste fragrance the nocturnal breeze. 

Say, why does man, while to his opening sight, 
Each shrub presents a source of chaste delight, 
And Nature bids for him her treasures flow, 
And gives to him alone, his bliss to know, 



254 poems op 

Why does he pant for Vice's deadly charms ? 
Why clasp the syren Pleasure to his arms ? 
And suck deep draughts of her voluptuous breath, 
Though fraught with ruin, infamy, and death ? 
Could he who thus to vile enjoyments clings, 
Know what calm joy from purer sources springs, 
Could he but feel how sweet, how free from strife, 
The harmless pleasures of a harmless life, 
No more his soul would pant for joys impure, 
The deadly chalice would no more allure, 
But the sweet portion he was wont to sip, 
Would turn to poison on his conscious lip. 

Eair Nature ! thee, in all thy varied charms, 
Eain would I clasp for ever in my arms : 
Thine, are the sweets which never, never sate, 
Thine, still remain, through all the storms of fate. 
Though not for me, 'twas Heaven's divine command 
To roll in acres of paternal land, 
Yet still, my lot is blest, while I enjoy 
Thine opening beauties with a lover's eye. 

Happy is he, who, though the cup of bliss 

Has ever shunn'd him when he thought to kiss, 

Who, still in abject poverty, or pain, 

Can count with pleasure what small joys remain : 

Though were his sight convey' d from zone to zone, 

He would not find one spot of ground his own, 

Yet, as he looks around, he cries with glee, 

These bounding prospects all were made for me : 

Eor me, yon waving fields their burthen bear, 

Eor me, yon labourer guides the shining share, 

While happy I, in idle ease recline, 

And mark the glorious visions as they shine. 

This is the charm, by sages often told, 

Converting all it touches into gold. 

Content can soothe, where'er by fortune placed, 

Can rear a garden in the desert waste. 



HENRr KIRKE WHITE. 255 

How lovely, from this hill's superior height, 
Spreads the wide view before my straining sight ! 
O'er many a varied mile of lengthening ground, 
E'en to the blue-ridged hill's remotest bound 
My ken is borne, while o'er my head serene 
The silver moon illumes the misty scene, 
Now shining clear, now darkening in the glade, 
In all the soft varieties of shade. 

Behind me, lo ! the peaceful hamlet lies 

The drowsy god has seal'd the cotter's eyes. 

No more, where late the social faggot blazed, 

The vacant peal resounds, by little raised ; 

But, lock'd in silence, o'er Arion's* star 

The slumbering night rolls on her velvet car ; 

The church-bell tolls, deep-sounding down the glade, 

The solemn hour, for walking spectres made ; 

The simple plough-boy, wakening with the sound, 

Listens aghast, and turns him startled round, 

Then stops his ears, and strives to close his eyes, 

Lest at the sound some grisly ghost should rise. 

Now ceased the long, the monitory toll, 

Returning silence stagnates in the soul ; 

Save when, disturb' d by dreams, with wild affright, 

The deep-mouth' d mastiff bays the troubled night ; 

Or where the village ale-house crowns the vale, 

The creaking sign-post whistles to the gale. 

A little onward let me bend my way, 

Where the moss'd seat invites the traveller's stay. 

That spot, oh! yet it is the very same; 

That hawthorn gives it shade, and gave it name ; 

There yet the primrose opes its earliest bloom, 

There yet the violet sheds its first perfume, 

And in the branch that rears above the rest 

The robin unmolested builds its nest. 

* The Constellation Delphinus. For authority for this appel- 
lation, vide Ovid's Fasti. B. xi., 113. 



• 



256 POEMS OF 

'Twas here, when hope presiding o'er my breast, 

In vivid colonrs every prospect drest ; 

5 Twas here, reclining, I indulged her dreams, 

And lost the hour in visionary schemes. 

Here, as I press once more the ancient seat, 

Why, bland deceiver ! not renew the cheat ? 

Say, can a few short years this change achieve, 

That thy illusions can no more deceive ! 

Time's sombrous tints have every view o'erspread, 

And thou, too, gay Seducer ! art thou fled ? 

Though vain thy promise, and the suit severe, 

Yet thou couldst guile misfortune of her tear, 

And oft thy smiles across life's gloomy way, 

Could throw a gleam of transitory day. 

How gay, in youth, the flattering future seems ; 

How sweet is manhood in the infant's dreams; 

The dire mistake too soon is brought to light, 

And all is buried in redoubled night. 

Yet some can rise superior to the pain, 

And in their breasts the charmer Hope retain : 

While others, dead to feeling, can survey 

Unmoved, their fairest prospects fade away : 

But yet a few there be, — too soon o'ercast ! 

Who shrink unhappy from the adverse blast, 

And woo the first bright gleam, which breaks the gloom, 

To gild the silent slumbers of the tomb. 

So, in these shades, the early primrose blows, 

Too soon deceived by suns, and melting snows : 

So falls untimely on the desert waste, 

Its blossoms withering in the northern blast. 

Now pass'd whate'er the upland heights display, 
Down the steep cliff I wind my devious way ; 
Oft rousing, as the rustling path I beat, 
The timid hare from its accustom'd seat. 
And oh ! how sweet this walk o'erhung with wood, 
That winds the margin of the solemn flood ! 
What rural objects steal upon the sight ! 
What rising- views prolong the calm delight ! 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 257 

The brooklet branching from the silver Trent, 
The whispering birch by every zephyr bent, 
The woody island, and the naked mead, 
The lowly hnt half hid in groves of reed, 
The rnral wicket, and the rural stile, 
And frequent interspersed, the woodman's pile. 
Above, below, where'er I turn my eyes, 
Rocks, waters, woods, in grand succession rise. 
High up the cliff the varied groves ascend, 
And mournful larches o'er the wave impend. 
Around, what sounds, what magic sounds arise, 
What glimm'ring scenes salute my ravish' d eyes : 
Soft sleep the waters on their pebbly bed, 
The woods wave gently o'er my drooping head, 
And swelling slow, comes wafted on the wind, 
Lorn Progne's note from distant copse behind. 
Still, every rising sound of calm delight 
Stamps but the fearful silence of the night ; 
Save, when is heard, between each dreary rest, 
Discordant from her solitary nest, 
The owl, dull-screaming to the wandering moon ; 
Now riding, cloud-wrapt, near her highest noon : 
Or when the wild-duck, southering, hither rides, 
And plunges sullen in the sounding tides. 

How oft, in this sequester' d spot, when youth 
Gave to each tale the holy force of truth, 
Have I long-linger' d, while the milk-maid sung 
The tragic legend, till the woodland rung ! 
That tale, so sad ! which, still to memory dear, 
From its sweet source can call the sacred tear. 
And (lull'd to rest stern reason's harsh control) 
Steal its soft magic to the passive soul. 
These hallow 1 d shades,— these trees that woo the wind, 
Recall its faintest features to my mind. 
A hundred passing years, with march sublime, 
Have swept beneath the silent wing of time, 
s 



2 OS POEMS OF 

Since, in yon hamlet's solitary shade, 
Reclusely dwelt the far-famed Clifton Maid, 
The beanteons Margaret ; for her each swain 
Confest in private his peculiar pain, 
In secret sigh'd, a victim to despair, 
Nor dared to hope to win the peerless fair. 
No more the shepherd on the blooming mead 
Attuned to gaiety his artless reed, 
No more entwined the pansied wreath, to deck 
His favourite wether's unpolluted neck; 
But b'stless, by yon babbling stream reclined, 
He raix'd his sobbings with the passing wind, 
Bemoan' d his hapless love, or boldly bent, 
Ear from these smiling fields, a rover went, 
O'er distant lands, in search of ease to roam, 
A self-will' d exile from his native home. 

Yet not to all the maid express' d disdain, 

Her Bateman t loved, nor loved the youth in vain. 

Full oft, low whispering o'er these arching boughs, 

The echoing vault responded to their vows, 

As here deep hidden from the glare of day, 

Enamour' d, oft they took their secret way. 

Yon bosky dingle, still the rustics name ; 
'Twas there the blushing maid confess' d her flame. 
Down yon green lane they oft were seen to hie, 
When evening slumber' d on the western sky. 
That blasted yew, that mouldering walnut bare, 
Each bears mementoes of the fated pair. 

One eve, when Autumn loaded ev'ry breeze 
With the fallen honours of the mourning trees, 
The maiden waited at the accustomed bower, 
And waited long beyond the appointed hour, 
Yet Bateman came not : — o'er the woodland drear, 
Howling portentous, did the winds career ; 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 259 

And bleak and dismal on the leafless woods. 
The fitful rains rush'd down in sudden floods. 
The night was dark ; as, now-and-then, the gale 
Paused for a moment, — Margaret listen 5 d, pale ; 
But through the covert to her anxious ear, 
No rustling footstep spoke her lover near. 
Strange fears now filled her breast, — she knew not why ; 
She sigh'd, and Bateman's name was in each sigh. 
She hears a noise, — 'tis he — he comes at last. 
Alas ! 'twas but the gale which hurried past; 
But now she hears a quickening footstep sound, 
Lightly it comes, and nearer does it bound : 
'Tis Bateman's self, — he springs into her arms, 
'Tis he that clasps, and chides her vain alarms. 
" Yet why this silence ? — I have waited long, 
And the cold storm has yell'd the trees among. 
And now thou 'rt here my fears are fled — yet speak, 
Why does the salt tear moisten on thy cheek ? 
Say, what is wrong ?" — Now, through a parting cloud, 
The pale moon peer'd from her tempestuous shroud, 
And Bateman's face was seen ; — 'twas deadly white, 
And sorrow seem'd to sicken in his sight. 
" Oh, speak, my love !" again the maid conjured; 
"Why is thy heart in sullen woe immured ?" 
He raised his head, and thrice essay 5 d to tell, 
Thrice from his lips the unfinished accents fell ; 
When thus at last reluctantly he broke 
His boding silence, and the maid bespoke : — 
" Grieve not, my love, but ere the morn advance, 
I on these fields must cast my parting glance ; 
Eor three long years, by cruel fate's command, 
I go to languish in a foreign land. 
Oh, Margaret ! omens dire have met my view, 
Say, when far distant, wilt thou bear me true ? 
Should honours tempt thee, and should riches fee, 
Wouldst thou forget thine ardent vows to me, 
And on the silken couch of wealth reclined, 
Banish thy faithful Bateman from thy mind?" 
s 2 



260 POEMS OF 

" Oil ! why," replies the maid, " my faith thus prove r — 
Canst thou ! ah, canst thou, then, suspect my love ? 
Hear me, just God ! if, from my traitorous heart, 
My Bateman's fond remembrance e'er shall part, 
If, when he hail again his native shore, 
He finds his Margaret true to him no more, 
May fiends of hell, and every power of dread, 
Conjoin' d, then drag me from my perjured bed, 
And hurl me headlong down these awful steeps, 
To find deserved death in yonder deeps !"* 

Thus spake the maid, and from her finger drew 

A golden ring, and broke it quick in two ; 

One half she in her lovely bosom hides, 

The other, trembling to her love confides. 

1 ' This bind the vow," she said, ' { this mystic charm 

No future recantation can disarm, 

The rite vindictive does the fates involve, 

No tears can move it, no regrets dissolve." 

She ceased. The death-bird gave a dismal cry, 
The river moan'd, the wild gale whistled by, 
And once again the lady of the night, 
Behind a heavy cloud withdrew her light. 
Trembling she viewed these portents with dismay : 
But gently Bateman kiss'd her fears away : 
Yet still he felt conceal' d a secret smart, 
Still melancholy bodings fill'd his heart. 

When to the distant land the youth was sped, 

A lonely life the moody maiden led. 

Still would she trace each dear, each well-known walk, 

Still by the moonlight to her love would talk 

And fancy as she paced among the trees, 

She heard his whispers in the dying breeze. 

* This part of the Trent is commonly called u The Clifton 
Deeps." 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 261 

Thus two years glided on, in silent grief ; 
The third, her bosom own'd the kind relief; 
Absence had cool'd her love, — the impoverish' d name 
Was dwindling fast, when lo ! the tempter came ; 
He offered wealth, and all the joys of life, 
And the weak maid became another's wife ! 

Six guilty months had mark'd the false one's crime, 

"When Bateman hail'd once more his native clime. 

Sure of her constancy, elate he came, 

The lovely partner of his soul to claim. 

Light was his heart, as up the well-known way 

He bent his steps — and all his thoughts were gay. 

Oh ! who can paint his agonizing throes, 

"When on his ear the fatal news arose. 

Chill' d with amazement, — senseless with the blow, 

He stood a marble monument of woe. 

Till call'd to all the horrors of despair, 

He smote his brow, and tore his horrent hair ; 

Then rush'd impetuous from the dreadful spot, 

And sought those scenes (by memory ne'er forgot), 

Those scenes, the witness of their growing flame. 

And now like witnesses of Margaret's shame. 

'Twas night — he sought the river's lonely shore, 

And traced again their former wanderings o'er. 

Now on the bank in silent grief he stood, 

And gazed intently on the stealing flood, 

Death in his mien and madness in his eye, 

He watch' d the waters as they murmur' d by ; 

Bade the base murderess triumph o'er his grave — 

Prepared to plunge into the whelming wave. 

Yet still he stood irresolutely bent, 

Religion sternly stayed his rash intent. 

He knelt. — Cool played upon his cheek the wind, 

And fann'd the fever of his maddening mind. 

The willows waved, the stream it sweetly swept, 

The paly moonbeam on its surface slept, 



262 poems op 

And all was peace : — he felt the general calm 
O'er his rack'd bosom shed a genial balm : 
When casting far behind his streaming eye, 
He saw the Grove, — in fancy saw her lie, 
Sis Margaret, lull'd in Germain's* arms to rest, 
And all the demon rose within his breast. 
Convulsive now, he clench' d his trembling hand, 
Cast his dark eye once more upon the land, 
Then, at one spring, he spurn'd the yielding bank, 
And in the calm deceitful current sank. 

Sad, on the solitude of night, the sound, 

As in the stream he plunged, was heard around : 

Then all was still, — the wave was rough no more, 

The river swept as sweetly as before, 

The willows waved, the moonbeam shone serene, 

And peace returning brooded o'er the scene. 

Now, see upon the perjured fair one hang 
Remorse's glooms and never-ceasing pang. 
Pull well she knew, repentant now too late, 
She soon must bow beneath the stroke of fate. 
But, for the babe she bore beneath her breast, 
The offended God prolong'd her life unbiest. 
But fast the fleeting moments roll'd away, 
And near, and nearer drew the dreaded day ; 
That day, foredoom' d to give her child the light, 
And hurl its mother to the shades of night. 

The hour arrived, and from the wretched wife 
The guiltless baby struggled into life. — 
As night drew on, around her bed, a band 
Of friends and kindred kindly took their stand ; 
In holy prayer they pass'd the creeping time, 
Intent to expiate her awful crime. 

* Germain is the traditionary name of her husband. 



HENRY K1BKE WHITE. 263 

Their prayers were fruitless. — As the midnight came, 

A heavy sleep oppress' d each weary frame. 

In vain they strove against the o'erwhelming load, 

Some power unseen their drowsy lids bestrode. 

They slept, till in the blushing eastern sky 

The bloomy morning oped her dewy eye : 

Then wakening wide they sought the ravish' d bed, 

Eut lo ! the hapless Margaret was fled ; 

And never more the weeping train were doom'd 

To view the false one, in the deeps intomb'd. 

The neighbouring rustics told that in the night 
They heard such screams, as froze them with affright ; 
And many an infant at its mother's breast, 
Started dismayed, from its unthinking rest. 
And even now, upon the heath forlorn, 
They show the path, down which the fair was borne, 
By the fell demons, to the yawning wave, 
Her own, and murder'd lover's, mutual grave. 

Such is the tale, so sad, to memory dear, 
Which oft in youth has charm' d my listening ear, 
That tale, which bade me find redoubled sweets 
In the drear silence of these dark retreats ; 
And even now, with melancholy power, 
Adds a new pleasure to the lonely hour. 
'Mid all the charms by magic Nature given 
To this wild spot, this sublunary heaven, 
With double joy enthusiast Fancy leans 
On the attendant legend of the scenes. 
This sheds a fairy lustre on the floods, 
And breathes a mellower gloom upon the woods ; 
This, as the distant cataract swells around, 
Gives a romantic cadence to the sound : 
This, and the deep'ning glen, the alley green, 
The silver stream, with sedgy tufts between, 
The massy rock, the wood-encompass'd leas, 
The broom-clad islands, and the nodding trees, 



264: POEMS OF 

The lengthening vista, and the present gloom, 
The verdant pathway breathing waste perfume ; 
These are thy charms, the joys which these impart 
Bind thee, blest Clifton ! close around my heart. 

Dear native Grove ! where'er my devious track, 

To thee will Memory lead the wanderer back. 

"Whether in Arno's polished vales I stray, 

Or where " Oswego's swamps" obstruct the day ; 

Or wander lone, where, wildering and wide, 

The tumbling torrent laves St. Gothard's side ; 

Or by old Tejo's classic margent muse, 

Or stand entranced with Pyrenean views ; 

Still, still to thee, where'er my footsteps roam, 

My heart shall point, and lead the wanderer home. 

When splendour offers, and when Fame incites, 

I'll pause, and think of all thy dear delights, 

Reject the boon, and wearied with the change, 

Renounce the wish which first induced to range ; 

Turn to these scenes, these well-known scenes once more, 

Trace once again Old Trent's romantic shore, 

And tired with worlds, and all their busy ways, 

Here waste the little remnant of my days. 

But, if the Fates should this last wish deny, 

And doom me on some foreign shore to die ; 

Oh ! should it please the world's supernal King, 

That weltering waves my funeral dirge shall sing ; 

Or that my corse should, on some desert strand, 

Lie stretch' d beneath the Simoom's blasting hand ; 

Still, though unwept I find a stranger tomb, 

My sprite shall wander through this favourite gloom, 

Ride on the wind that sweeps the leafiess grove, 

Sigh on the wood-blast of the dark alcove, 

Sit, a lorn spectre, on yon well-known grave, 

And mix its moaninsrs with the desert wave. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 265 



GONDOLINE: 



A BALLAD. 



The night it was still, and the moon it shone 

Serenely on the sea, 
And the waves at the foot of the rifted rock 

The j murmnr'd pleasantly. 

When Gondoline roamed along the shore, 

A maiden full fair to the sight ; 
Though love had made bleak the rose on her cheek, 

And turn'd it to deadly white. 

Her thoughts they were drear, and the silent tear 

It fill'd her faint blue eye, 
As oft she heard, in fancy's ear, 

Her Bertrand's dying sigh. 

Her Bertrand was the bravest youth 

Of all our good king's men, 
And he was gone to the Holy Land 

To fight the Saracen. 

And many a month had pass'd away, 

And many a rolling year, 
But nothing the maid from Palestine 

Could of her lover hear. 

Full oft she vainly tried to pierce 

The ocean's misty face ; 
Full oft she thought her lover's bark 

She on the wave could trace. 

And every night she placed a light 

In the high rock's lonely tower, 
To guide her lover to the land, 

Should the murky tempest lower. 



266 POEMS OF 

But now despair had seized her breast, 

And sunken in her eye : 
" Oh ! tell me but if Bertrand live, 

And I in peace will die." 

She wander' d o'er the lonely shore, 
The curlew scream' d above, 
f She heard the scream with a sickening heart. 

Much boding of her love. 

Yet still she kept her lonely way, 

And this was all her cry : 
" Oh ! tell me but if Bertrand live, 

And I in peace shall die." 

And now she came to a horrible rift 
All in the rock's hard side, 

A bleak and blasted oak o'erspread 
The cavern yawning wide ; 

And pendant from its dismal top 
The deadly night-shade hung, 

The hemlock, and the aconite, 
Across the mouth were flung. 

And all within was dark and drear, 
And all without was calm, 

Yet Gondoline entered, her soul upheld 
By some deep-working charm. 

And, as she enter' d the cavern wide, 
The moonbeam gleamed pale, 

And she saw a snake on the craggy rock,— 
It clung by its slimy tail. 

Her foot it slipp'd, and she stood aghast, 
She trod on a bloated toad ; 

Yet still, upheld by the secret charm, 
She kept upon her road. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 267 

And now upon her frozen ear 

Mysterious sounds arose, 
So, on the mountain's piny top, 

The blustering North-wind blows. 

Then furious peals of laughter loud 

Were heard with thundering sound* 
Till they died away, in soft decay, 

Low whispering o'er the ground. 

Yet still the maiden onward went, 

The charm yet onward led, 
Though each big glaring ball of sight 

Seem'd bursting from her head. 

But now a pale blue light she saw, 

It from a distance came, .« 
She followed, till upon her sight, 

Burst full a flood of flame. 

She stood appall' d; yet still the charm 

Upheld her sinking soul, 
Yet each bent knee the other smote, 

And each wild eye did roll. 

And such a sight as she saw there, 

No mortal saw before, 
And such a sight as she saw there, 

No mortal shall see more. 

A burning caldron stood in the midst, 

The flame was fierce and high, 
And all the cave so wide and long, 

Was plainly seen thereby. 

And round about the caldron stout 

Twelve withered witches stood : 
Their waists were bound with living snakes, 

And their hair was stiff with blood. 



268 POEMS OF 

Their hands were gory, too ; and red 
And fiercely flamed their eyes ; 

And they were muttering indistinct 
Their hellish mysteries. 

And suddenly they joined their hands, 

And uttered a joyous cry, 
And round about the caldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

And now they stopt ; and each prepared 

To tell what she had done, 
Since last the Lady of the night, 

Her waning course had run. 

Behind a rock stood Gondoline, 
Thick weeds her face did veil, 

And she lean'd fearful forwarder, 
To hear the dreadful tale. 

The first arose : She said she'd seen 

Rare sport, since the blind cat mew'd. ; 

She'd been to sea, in a leaky sieve, 
And a jovial storm had brew'd. 

She call'd around the winged winds, 

And raised a devilish rout ; 
And she laugh' d so loud, the peals were heard 

Full fifteen leagues about. 



She said there was a little bark 

Upon the roaring wave, 
And there was a woman there who'd been 

To see her husband's grave. 

And she had got a child in her arms, 

It was her only child, 
And oft its little infant pranks 

Her heavy heart beguiled. 






HENKY KIRKE WHITE. 269 

And there was too hi that same bark, 

A father and his son : 
The lad was sickly, and the sire 

Was old, and woe-begone. 

And when the tempest waxed strong, 
And the bark could no more it 'bide, 

She said, it was jovial fun to hear 
How the poor devils cried. 

The mother clasp' d her orphan child 

Unto her breast, and wept ; 
And, sweetly folded in her arms, 

The careless baby slept. 

And she told how, in the shape o' the wind, 

As manfully it roar'd, 
She twisted her hand in the infant's hair, 

And threw it overboard. 

And to have seen the mother's pangs, 

'Twas a glorious sight to see ; 
The crew could scarcely hold her down 

Erom jumping in the sea. 

The hag held a lock of the hair in her hand, 

And it was soft and fair ; 
Ifc must have been a lovely child, 

To have had such lovely hair. 

And she said, the father in his arms 

He held his sickly son, 
And his dying throes they fast arose, 

His pains were nearly clone. 

And she throttled the youth with her sinewy hands 

And his face grew deadly blue ; 
And the father he tore his thin grey hair, 

And kiss'd the livid hue. 



270 POEMS OF 

And then she told, how she bored a hole 

In the bark, and it fill'd away; 
And 'twas rare to hear how some did swear, 

And some did vow, and pray. 

The man and woman they soon were dead, 
The sailors their strength did urge ; 

But the billows that beat were their winding-sheet, 
And the winds sung their funeral dirge. 

She threw the infant's hair in the fire, 

The red flame flamed high, 
And round about the caldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

The second begun : she said she had done 
The task that Queen Hecat' had set her, 

And that the devil, the father of evil, 
Had never accomplish' d a better. 

She said there was an aged woman, 

And she had a daughter fair, 
Whose evil habits fill'd her heart 

With misery and care. 

The daughter had a paramour, 

A wicked man was he, 
And oft the woman, him against, 

Did murmur grievously. 

And the hag had worked the daughter up 

To murder her old mother, 
That then she might seize on all her goods, 

And wanton with her lover. 

And one night, as the old woman 

Was sick and ill in bed, 
And pondering sorely on the life 

Her wicked daughter led, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 271 

She heard her footstep on the floor, 

And she raised her pallid head, 
And she saw her daughter, with a knife, 

Approaching to her bed ; 

And said, " My child, I'm very ill, 

I have not long to live ; 
Now kiss my cheek, that ere I die 

Thy sins I may forgive." 

And the murderess bent to kiss her cheek, 
And she lifted the sharp, bright knife, 

And the mother saw her fell intent, 
And hard she begged for life. 

But prayers would nothing her avail, 

And she screamed loud with fear ; 
But the house was lone, and the piercing screams 

Could reach no human ear. 

And though that she was sick, and old, 

She struggled hard, and fought ; 
The murderess cut three fingers through 

Ere she could reach her throat. 

And the hag she held the fingers up, 

The skin was mangled sore, 
And they all agreed a nobler deed 

"Was never done before. 

And she threw the fingers in the fire, 

The red flame flamed high, 
And round about the caldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

The third arose : she said she'd been 

To Holy Palestine ; 
And seen more blood in one short day, 

Than they had all seen in nine. 



272 POEMS OF 

Now Gondoline, with fearful steps, 
Drew nearer to the flame, 

For much she dreaded now to hear 
Her hapless lover's name. 

The hag related then the sports 

Of that eventful day, 
When on the well-contested field 

Full fifteen thousand lay. 

She said, that she in human gore 
Above the knees did wade, 

And that no tongue could truly tell 
The tricks she there had played. 

There was a gallant-featured youth, 
Who like a hero fought : 

He kissed a bracelet on his wrist, 
And every danger sought. 

And in a vassal's garb disguised 
Unto the knight she sues, 

And tells him she from Britain comes, 
And brings unwelcome news. 

That three days ere she had embark' d, 
His love had given her hand, 

Unto a wealthy Thane : — and thought 
Him dead in holy land. 

And to have seen how he did writhe 
When this her tale she told, 

It would have made a wizard's blood 
Within his heart run cold. 

Then fierce he spurr'd his warrior steed, 
And sought the battle's bed : 

And soon all mangled o'er with wounds 
He on the cold turf bled. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 273 

And from his smoking corse, she tore 

His head, half clove in two, 
She ceased, and from beneath her garb, 

The bloody trophy drew. 

The eyes were starting from their socks, 

The month it ghastly grinned, 
And there was a gash across the brow, 

The scalp was nearly skinned. 

'Twas Bertram's Head ! "With a terrible scream, 

The maiden gave a spring, 
And from her fearful hiding-place 

She fell into the ring. 

The lights they fled, — the caldron sunk, 

Deep thunders shook the dome, 
And hollow peals of laughter came 

Resounding through the gloom. 

Insensible the maiden lay 

Upon the hellish ground : 
And still mysterious sounds were heard 

At intervals around. 

She woke, — she half arose, — and wild, 

She cast a horrid glare, 
The sounds had ceased, the lights had fled, 

And all was stillness there. 

And through an awning in the rock, 

The moon it sweetly shone, 
And showed a river in the cave 

"Which dismally did moan. 

The stream was black, it sounded deep 

As it rushed the rocks between, 
It offered well, for madness fired 

The breast of Gondoline. 
T 



274 POEMS OF 

She plunged in, the torrent moaned 
With its accustomed sound 

And hollow peals of laughter loud 
Again rebellowed round. 

The maid was seen no more. — But oft 
Her ghost is known to glide, 

At midnight's silent, solemn hour, 
Alonsr the ocean's side. 



LINES WEITTEN ON A SURVEY OF THE HEAVENS, 

IN THE MORNING BEFORE DAYBREAK, 

Ye many-twinkling stars, who yet do hold 

Your brilliant places in the sable vault 

Of night's dominions ! — Planets, and central orbs 

Of other systems ! — big as the burning sun, 

Which lights this nether globe, — yet to our eye, 

Small as the glow-worm's lamp ! — To you I raise 

My lowly orisons, while all bewildered, 

My vision strays o'er your ethereal hosts ; 

Too vast, too boundless, for our narrow mind, 

Warped with low prejudices, to infold, 

And sagely comprehend. Thence higher soaring, 

Through ye, I raise my solemn thoughts to him i 

The mighty founder of this wondrous maze, 

The great Creator ! Him ! who now sublime 

Wrapt in the solitary amplitude 

Of boundless space, above the rolling spheres 

Sits on his silent throne, and meditates. 

The angelic hosts in their inferior Heaven, 
Hymn to their golden harps his praise sublime, 
Repeating loud, "The Lord our God is great," 
In varied harmonies. — The glorious sounds 
Koll o'er the air serene — The .zEolian" spheres, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 275 

Harping along their viewless boundaries, 

Catch the full note, and cry, " The Lord is great/' 

Responding to the Seraphim. — O'er all, 

Erom orb to orb, to the remotest verge 

Of the created world, the sound is borne 

Till the whole universe is full of Him. 

Oh ! 'tis this heavenly harmony which now 
In fancy strikes upon my listening ear, 
And thrills my inmost soul. It bids me smile 
On the vain world, and all its bustling cares, 
And gives a shadowy glimpse of future bliss. 

Oh ! what is man, when at ambition's height, 
What even are kings, when balanced in the scale 
Of these stupendous worlds ! Almighty God ! 
Thou, the dread author of these wond'rous works ! 
Say, canst thou cast on me, poor passing worm, 
One look of kind benevolence ? — Thou canst : 
Eor thou art full of universal love, 
And in thy boundless goodness wilt impart 
Thy beams as well to me, as to the proud, 
The pageant insects, of a glittering hour. 

Oh ! when reflecting on these truths sublime, 
How insignificant do all the joys, 
The gauds, and honours of the world appear ! 
How vain ambition ! Why has my wakeful lamp 
Outwatched the slow-paced night ? — Why on the page,, 
The schoolman's laboured page, have I employed 
The hours devoted by the world to rest, 
And needful to recruit exhausted nature ? 
Say, can the voice of narrow Tame repay 
The loss of health ? or can the hope of glory, 
Lend a new throb into my languid heart, 
Cool, even now, my feverish, aching brow, 
Relume the fires of this deep-sunken eye, 
Or paint new colours on this pallid cheek ? 
T 2 



276 POEMS OF 

Say, foolish, one — can that unbodied Tame, 
For which thou barterest health and happiness, 
Say, can it soothe the slumbers of the grave ? 
Give a new zest to bliss ? or chase the pangs 
Of everlasting punishment condign? 
Alas ! how vain are mortal man's desires ! 
How fruitless his pursuits ! Eternal God ! 
Guide thou my footsteps in the way of truth, 
And oh ! assist me so to live on earth, 
That I may die in peace, and claim a place 
In thy high dwelling. — All but this is folly, 
The vain illusions of deceitful life. 



LINES SUPPOSED TO BE SPOKEN BY A LOVER AT 
THE GRAVE OF HIS MISTRESS. 

OCCASIONED BY A SITUATION IN A ROMANCE 

Mary, the moon is sleeping on thy grave, 

And on the turf thy lover sad is kneeling, 

The big tear in his eye. — Mary, awake, 

Erom thy dark house arise, and bless his sight 

On the pale moonbeam gliding. Soft, and low, 

Pour on the silver ear of night thy tale, 

Thy whispered tale, of comfort, and of love, 

To soothe thy Edward's lorn, distracted soul, 

And cheer his breaking heart. — Come, as thou didst, 

When o'er the barren moors the night-wind howl'd, 

And the deep thunders shook the ebon throne 

Of the startled night. — Oh ! then, as lone reclining, 

I listened sadly to the dismal storm, 

Thou, on the lambent lightnings wild careering, 

Didst strike my moody eye ; — dead pale thou wert, 

Yet passing lovely. — Thou didst smile upon me, 

And oh ! thy voice it rose so musical, 

Betwixt the hollow pauses of the storm, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 277 

That at the sound the winds forgot to rave, 
And the stern demon of the tempest, charm' d 
Sank on his rocking throne, to still repose, 
Locked in the arms of silence. 

Spirit of her 
My only love ! — Oh ! now again arise, 
And let once more thine aery accents fall 
Soft on my listening ear. The night is calm, 
The gloomy willows wave in sinking cadence 
With the stream that sweeps below. Divinely swelling 
On the still air, the distant waterfall 
Mingles its melody ; — and high, above, 
The pensive empress of the solemn night, 
Fitful, emerging from the rapid clouds, 
Shows her chaste face, in the meridian sky. 
No wicked elves upon the Warlock-knoll 
Dare now assemble at their mystic revels. 
It is a night, when, from their primrose beds, 
The gentle ghosts of injured innocents 
Are known to rise, and wander on the breeze, 
Or take their stand by the oppressor's couch, 
And strike grim terror to his guilty soul. 
The spirit of my love might now awake, 
And hold its 'customed converse. 

Mary, lo ! 
Thy Edward kneels upon thy verdant grave, 
And calls upon thy name. — The breeze that blows 
On his wan cheek, will soon sweep over him, 
In solemn music, a funereal dirge, 
Wild and most sorrowful. — His cheek is pale, 
The worm that preyed upon thy youthful bloom, 
It cankered green on his. — Now lost he stands, 
The ghost of what he was, and the cold dew 
Which bathes his aching temples, gives sure omen 
Of speedy dissolution. — Mary, soon 
Thy love will lay his pallid cheok to thine, 
And sweetly will he sleep with thee in death. 



278 POEMS OF 



MY STUDY. 



A LETTER IN HUDIBRASTIC TERSE. 

You bid me, Ned, describe the place 
Where I, one of the rhyming race, 
Pursue my studies con amove, 
And wanton with the muse in glory. 

Well, figure to your senses straight, 

Upon the house's topmost height, 

A closet, just six feet by four, 

With white-washed walls, and plaster floor, 

So noble large, 'tis scarcely able 

To admit a single chair and table : 

And (lest the muse should die with cold) 

A smoky grate my fire to hold : 

So wondrous small, 'twould much it pose 

To melt the ice-drop on one's nose ; 

And yet so big, it covers o'er 

Full half the spacious room and more. 

A window vainly stuffed about, 
To keep November's breezes out, 
So crazy, that the panes proclaim, 
That soon they mean to leave the frame. 

My furniture, I sure may crack — 

A broken chair without a back ; 

A table, wanting just two legs, 

One end sustained by wooden pegs ; 

A desk — of that I am not fervent, 

The work of, sir, your humble servant, 

(Who, though I say 't, am no such fum bier ;) 

A glass decanter and a tumbler, 

Prom which, my night-parch' d throat I lave, 

Luxurious, with the Limpid wave. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 279 

A chest of drawers, in antique sections, 
And sawed by me, in aLl directions ; 
So small, sir, that whoever views 'em, 
Swears nothing but a doll could use 5 em. 
To these, if you will add a store 



Of oddities upon the floor, 

A pair of globes, electric balls, 

Scales, quadrants, prisms, and cobbler's awls, 

And crowds of books, on rotten shelves, 

Octavos, folios, quartos, twelves ; 

I think, dear Ned, you curious dog, 

You'll have my earthly catalogue. 

But stay, — I nearly had left out 

My bellows destitute of snout ; 

And on the walls, — Good Heavens ! why thcro 

I've such a load of precious ware, 

Of heads, and coins, and silver medals, 

And organ works, and broken pedals, 

(For I was once a building music, 

Though soon of that employ I grew sick), 

And skeletons of laws which shoot 

All out of one primordial root ; 

That you, at such a sight, would swear 

Confusion's self had settled there. 

There stands, just by a broken sphere, 

A Cicero without an ear, 

A neck, on which by logic good 

I know for sure a head once stood ; 

But who it was the able master, 

Had moulded in the mimic plaster, 

Whether 'twas Pope, or Coke, or Burn, 

I never yet could justly learn : 

But knowing well, that any head 

Is made to answer for the dead, 

(And sculptors first their faces frame. 

And after pitch upon a name, 

Nor think it aught of a misnomer 

To christen Chaucer's busto, Homer, 



280 POEMS OF 

Because they both have beards, which you know 
Will mark them well from Joan, and Juno,) 
Tor some great man, I could not tell 
But Neck might answer just as well, 
So perched it up, all in a row 
"With Chatham and with Cicero. 

Then all around in just degree, 
A range of portraits you may see, 
Of mighty men, and eke of women 
Who are no whit inferior to men. 

With these fair dames, and heroes round, 

I call my garret classic ground. 

Eor though confined, 'twill well contain 

The ideal nights of Madam Brain. 

No dungeon's walls, no cell confined, 

Can cramp the energies of mind ! 

Thus, though my heart may seem so smal^ 

I've friends and 'twill contain them all ; 

And should it e'er become so cold 

That these it will no longer hold, 

No more may heaven her blessings give, 

I shall not then be fit to live. 



TO AN EARLY PEIMEOSE. 

Mild offspring of a dark and sullen sire ! 
Whose modest form, so delicately fine, 

Was nursed in whirling storms 

And cradled in the winds. 

Thee, when young spring first questioned winter's sway, 
And dared the sturdy blusterer to the fight, 

Thee on this bank he threw 

To mark his victory. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 281 

In this low vale, the promise of the year, 
Serene, thon openest to the nipping gale, 

Unnoticed and alone, 

Thy tender elegance. 

So Yirtne blooms, brought forth amid the storms 
Of chill adversity, in some lone walk 

Of life, she rears her head 

Obscure and unobserved ; 

While every bleaching breeze that on her blow?, 
Chastens her spotless parity of breast, 

And hardens her to bear 

Serene the ills of life. 



282 POEMS OF 

SONNETS. 



SONNET I. 

TO THE RIVER TRENT. AVRITTEN ON RECOVERY FROM 8ICKNF.S 

Once more, Trent ! along thy pebbly marge 

A pensive invalid, rednced and pale, 
From the close sick-room newly let at large, 
Woos to Ms wan-worn cheek the pleasant gale. 
Oh ! to his ear how musical the tale 

Which fills with joy the throstle's little throat ! 
And all the sounds which on the fresh breeze sail, 

How wildly novel on his senses float ! 
It was on this, that many a sleepless night, 

As, lone, he watched the taper's sickly gleam, 
And at his casement heard, with wild affright, 

The owl's dull wing, and melancholy scream, 
On this he thought, this, this his sole desire, 
Thus once again to hear the warbling woodland choir. 



SONNET II. 

Give me a cottage on some Cambrian wild, 

Where, far from cities, I may spend my days : 
And, by the beauties of the scene beguiled, 

May pity man's pursuits, and shun his ways. 
While on the rock I mark the browsing goat, 

List to the mountain torrent's distant noise, 
Or the hoarse bittern's solitary note, 

I shall not want the world's delusive joys ; 
But, with my little scrip, my book, my lyre, 

Shall think my lot complete, nor covet more ; 
And when, with time, shall wane the vital fire, 

I'll raise my pillow on the desert shore, 
And lay me down to rest where the wild wave 
Shall make sweet music o'er my lonely grave. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 283 

SONNET III.* 

SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED BY A FEMALE LUNATIC 
TO A LADY. 

Lady, thou weepest for the Maniac's woe, 

And thou art fair, and thou, like me art young, 
Oh may thy bosom never, never know 

The pangs with which my wretched heart is wrung. 
I had a mother once— a brother too — 

(Beneath yon yew my father rests his head :) 
I had a lover once, — and kind, and true, 

But mother, brother, lover, all are fled ! 
Yet, whence the tear, which dims thy lovely eye ? 

Oh ! gentle lady— not for me thus weep, 
The green sod soon upon my breast will lie, 

And soft and sound, will be my peaceful sleep. 
Go thou, and pluck the roses while they bloom — 

My hopes lie buried in the silent tomb. 



SONNET IV. 

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY THE UNHAPPY POET DERMODY, IN A 
STORM, WHILE ON BOARD A SHIP IN HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE. 

Lo ! o'er the welkin the tempestuous clonds 
Successive fly, and the loud-piping wind 

Rocks the poor sea-boy on the dripping shrouds, 
While the pale pilot o'er the helm reclined, 

Lists to the changeful storm : and as he plies 
His wakeful task, he oft bethinks him, sad, 
Of wife, and little home, and chubby lad, 

And the half-strangled tear bedews his eyes ; 

I, on the deck, musing on themes forlorn, 
View the drear tempest, and the yawning deep, 
Nought dreading in the green sea's caves to sleep, 

Tor not for me shall wife, or children mourn, 

And the wild winds will ring my funeral knell, 

Sweetly as solemn peal of pious passing-bell. 

* This quatorzain had its rise from an elegant sonnet, " occa- 
sioned by seeing a young female lunatic," written by Mrs. Lofi% 
and published in the "Monthly Mirror." 



284 POEMS OF 

SONNET V. 

THE WINTER TRAVELLER. 

God help thee, Traveller, on thy journey far : 
The wind is bitter keen, — the snow o'erlays 
The hidden pits, and dangerous hollow ways, 
And darkness will involve thee. — No kind star 
To-night will guide thee, Traveller, — and the war 
Of winds and elements on thy head will break, 
And in thy agonizing ear the shriek, 
Of spirits howling on their stormy car, 
Will often ring appalling — I portend 
A dismal night — and on my wakeful bed 
Thoughts, Traveller, of thee, will fill my head, 
And him, who rides where wind and waves contend, 
And strives, rude cradled on the seas, to guide 
His lonely bark through the tempestuous tide. 



SONNET VI. 

BY CAPEL LOFFT, ESQ. 

[This Sonnet was addressed to the author of this volume, and was 
occasioned by several little quatorzains, misnomered sonnets, 
which he published in the " Monthly Mirror." He begs leave to 
return his thanks to the much respected writer for the permission 
so politely granted to insert it here, and for the good opinion he 
has been pleased to express of his productions.] 

Ye, whose aspirings court the muse of lays, 
" Severest of those orders which belong, 
Distinct and separate, to Delphic song," 

Why shun the Sonnet's undulating maze ? 

And why its name, boast of Petrarchian days, 

Assume, its rules disown' d ? whom from the throng 

The Muse selects, their ear the charm obeys 
Of its full harmony : — they fear to wrong 



HENRY KIEKE WHITE. 285 

The Sonnet, by adorning with a name 

Of that distinguished import, lays, though sweet, 
Yet not in magic texture taught to meet 

Of that so varied and peculiar frame. 

Oh think ! to vindicate its genuine praise 
Those it beseems, whose Lyre a favouring impulse sways. 



SONNET VII. 

BECANTATORY, IN REPLY TO THE FOREGOING ELEGANT ADMONITION 

Let the sublimer Muse, who, wrapt in night, 
Rides on the raven pennons of the storm, 
Or o'er the field, with purple havoc warm, 

Lashes her steeds, and sings along the fight ; 

Let her, whom more ferocious strains delight, 
Disdain the plaintive Sonnet's little form, 
And scorn to its wild cadence to conform, 

The impetuous tenour of her hardy flight. 

But me, far lowest of the sylvan train, 

Who wake the wood-nymphs from the forest shade 
"With wildest song ; — Me, much behoves thy aid 

Of mingled melody, to grace my strain, 

And give it power to please, as soft it flows 

Through the smooth murmurs of thy frequent close. 



SONNET VIII. 

ON HEARING THE SOUNDS OF AN ^OLIAN HARP. 

So ravishingly soft unon the tide 
Of the enfuriate gust, it did career, 
It might have soothed its rugged charioteer, 

And sunk him to a zephyr ; — then it died, 

Melting in melody : — and I descried 

Borne to some wizard stream, the form appear 
Of Druid sage, who on the far-off ear 

Poured his lone song, to which the surge replied : 



2S6 POEMS OF 

Or thought I heard the hapless pilgrim's knell, 
Lost in some wild enchanted forest's bounds, 
By unseen beings sung ; or are these sounds* 
Such as, 'tis said, at night are known to swell 
By startled shepherd on the lonely heath, 
Keeping his night-watch sad, portending death ? 



SONNET IX. 

What art thou, Mighty Oxe ! and where thy seat ? 

Thou broodest on the calm that cheers the lands. 

And thou dost bear within thine awful hands, 
The rolling thunders and the lightnings fleet. 
Stern on thy dark- wrought car of cloud, and wind, 

Thou guidest the northern storm at night's dead noon, 

Or on the red wing of the fierce Monsoon, 
Disturb' st the sleeping giant of the Ind. 
In the drear silence of the polar span 

Dost thou repose ? or in the solitude 
Of sultry tracts, where the lone caravan 

Hears nightly howl the tiger's hungry brood ? 
Yain thought ! the confines of his throne to trace, 
Who glows through all the fields of boundless space. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 287 



A BALLAD. 

Be hushed, be hushed, ye bitter winds, 

Ye pelting rains a little rest ; 
Lie still, lie still, ye busy thoughts, 

That wring with grief my aching breast 

Oh, cruel was my faithless love, 
To triumph o'er an artless maid : 

Oh, cruel was my faithless love, 
To leave the breast by him betrayed. 

When exiled from my native home, 
He should have wiped the bitter tear : 

Nor left me faint and lone to roam, 
A heart-sick weary wanderer here. 

My child moans sadly in my arms, 
The winds they will not let it sleep ; 

Ah, little knows the hapless babe, 
What makes its wretched mother weep ! 

Now lie thee still, my infant dear, 
I cannot bear thy sobs to see, 

Harsh is thy father, little one, 
And never will he shelter thee. 

Oh, that I were but in my grave, 
And winds were piping o'er me loud, 

And thou, my poor, my orphan babe, 
Wert nestling in thy mother's shroud 



28S POEMS OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE, 



THE LULLABY 

OF A FEMALE CONVICT TO HER CHILD, THE NIGHT PREVIOUS 

TO EXECUTION. 

*Sleep, baby mine, enkerchieffc on my bosom, 
Thy cries they pierce again my bleeding breast ; 

Sleep, baby mine, not long thon'lt have a mother, 
To lnll thee fondly in her arms to rest. 

Baby, why dost thon keep this sad complaining, 
Long from mine eyes have kindly slumbers fled ; 

Hush, hush, my babe, the night is quickly waning, 
And I would fain compose my aching head. 

Poor wayward wretch ! and who will heed thy weeping, 
When soon an outcast on the world thou'lt be : 

Who then will soothe thee, when thy mother's sleeping, 
In her low grave of shame and infamy ! 

Sleep, baby mine. — To-morrow I must leave thee, 
And I would snatch an interval of rest ; 

Sleep these last moments, ere the laws bereave thee, 
For never more thou'lt press a mother's breast. 

* Sir Philip Sidney has a poem beginning, " Sleep, baby mine." 






POEMS, 



WRITTEN DURING, OR SHORTLY AFTER, THE PUBLICATION 
OF 

CLIFTON GEOYE. 



ODE, 

.., ON SEEING ENGRAVINGS 



ADDRESSED TO H. FUSELI, ESQ., R.A., ON SEEING ENGRAVINGS 
FROM HIS DESIGNS. 



Mighty Magician ! who on Torneo's brow, 

When sullen tempests wrap the throne of night, 
Art wont to sit and catch the gleam of light 

That shoots athwart the gloom opaque below ; 

And listen to the distant death-shriek long 

Erom lonely mariner foundering in the deep, 
"Which rises slowly up the rocky steep, 

While the weird sisters weave the horrid song : 
Or when along the liquid sky 
Serenely chant the orbs on high, 
Dost love to sit in musinsr trance 
And mark the northern meteor's dance, 
(While far below the fitful oar 
Elings its faint pauses on the steepy shore,) 
And list the music of the breeze, 
That sweeps by fits the bending seas ; 
And often bears with sudden swell 
The shipwrecked sailor's funeral knell, 
By the spirits sung who keep 
Their night watch on the treacherous deep, 
And guide the wakeful helmsman's eye 
To Helice in northern sky ; 



290 POEMS OP 

And there upon the rock inclined 
With mighty visions fill'st the mind, 
Such as bomid in magic spell 
*Hhn who grasped the gates of hell, 
And bursting Pluto's dark domain 
Held to the day the Terrors of his reign. 

Genius of Horror and romantic awe, 

"Whose eye explores the secrets of the deep, 
TThose power can bid the rebel fluids creep, 

Can force the inmost soul to own its law ; 
Who shall now, sublimest spirit, 
Who shall now thy wand inherit, 
From him f thy darling child who best 
Thy shuddering images exprest ? 
Sullen of soul and stern and proud, 
His gloomy spirit spurned the crowd, 
And now he lays his aching head 

In the dark mansion of the silent dead. 

Mighty Magician ! long thy wand has lain 
Buried beneath the unfathomable deep ; 
And oh ! for ever must its efforts sleep, 
May none the mystic sceptre e'er regain ! 
Oh yes, 'tis his ! — Thy other son 
He throws thy dark- wrought Tunic on, 
Tuesslin waves thy wand, — again they rise, 
Again thy wildering forms salute our ravished eyes. 
Him didst thou cradle on the dizzy steep 

Where round his head the volley' d lightnings flung, 
And the loud winds that round Ins pillow rung 
Woo'd the stern infant to the arms of sleep. 

Or on the highest top of Teneriffe, 
Seated the fearless Boy, and bade lmn look 
Where far below the weather-beaten skiff 
On the gulf bottom of the ocean strook. 

* Dante. f Ibid. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 291 

Thou mark'dst him drink with ruthless ear 
The death-sob, and disdaining rest, 
Thou sawest how danger fired his breast, 
And in his young hand couch' d the visionary spear. 

Then Superstition at thy call, 

She bore the boy to Odin's Hall, 

And set before his awe-struck sight 

The savage feast and spectred fight ; 

And summoned from his mountain tomb 

The ghastly warrior son of gloom, 

His fabled runic rhymes to sing 

While fierce Hresvelger flapped his wing ; 

Thou showedst the trains the shepherd sees. 

Laid on the stormy Hebrides, 

Which on the mists of evening gleam 

Or crowd the foaming desert stream j 

Lastly, her storied hand she waves 

And lays him in Morentian caves ; 

There milder fables lovelier themes 

Enwrap his soul in heavenly dreams, 

There pity's lute arrests his ear, 

And draws the half -reluctant tear ; 

And now at noon of night he roves 

Along the embowering moonlight groves, 

And as from many a cavern' d dell 

The hollow wind is heard to swell, 

He thinks some troubled spirit sighs, 

And as upon the turf he lies, 

Where sleeps the silent beam of night, 

He sees below the gliding sprite, 

And hears in Fancy's organs sound 

Aerial music warbling round. 



Taste lastly comes and smoothes the whole, 
And breathes her polish o'er his soul ; 
Glowing with wild, yet chastened heat, 
The wonderous work is now complete. 
v 2 



292 poems of 

The Poet dreams : — The shadow flies, 
And fainting fast its image dies. 
But lo ! the Painter's magic force 
Arrests the phantom's fleeting course ; 
It lives — it lives — the canvas glows, 
And tenfold vigour o'er it flows. 

The Bard beholds the work achieved, 
And as he sees the shadow rise, 
Sublime before his wandering eyes, 

Starts at the image his own mind conceived. 



ODE, 

ADDRESSED TO THE EARL OF CARLISLE, K.O. 

Retired, remote from human noise, 

A humble Poet dwelt serene, 
His lot was lowly, yet his joys 

Were manifold I ween. 
He laid him by the brawling brook 
At eventide to ruminate, 

He watched the swallow swimming round, 

And mused, in reverie profound, 
On wayward man's unhappy state, 
And pondered much, and paused on deeds of ancient date. 

ii. i. 

" Oh, 'twas not always thus," he cried, 

" There was a time when genius claimed 
Respect from even towering pride, 

Nor hung her head ashamed : 
But now to wealth alone we bow, 

The titled, and the rich alone, 
Are honoured, while meek merit pines, 
On penury's wretched couch reclines, 
Unheeded in his dying moan. 
As, overwhelmed with want and woe, he sinks unknown. 



HEXHY KIRKE WHITE. 293 

III. I. 

Yet was the Muse not always seen 
In poverty's dejected mien, 
Not always did repining me, 
And misery her steps pursue. 
Time was, when nobles thought their titles graced, 
By the sweet honours of poetic bays, 
When Sidney sung his melting song, 
When Sheffield joined the harmonious throng, 
And Lyttleton attuned to love his lays. 
Those days are gone — alas, for ever gone ! 

No more our nobles love to grace 
Their brows with anadems, by genius won, 
But arrogantly deem the Muse as base ; 
How differently thought the sires of this degenerate race!" 

I. 2. 

Thus sang the minstrel : — still at eve 

The upland's woody shades among 
In broken measures did he grieve, 

With solitary song. 
And still his shame was aye the same, 

Neglect had stung him to the core ; 
And he, with pensive joy did love 
To seek the still congenial grove, 

And muse on all his sorrows o'er, 
And vow that he would join the abjured world no more. 



But human vows, how frail they be ! 

Eame brought Carlisle unto his view, 
And all amazed, he thought to see 

The Augustan age anew. 
Tilled with wild rapture, up he rose, 
No more he ponders on the woes, 
Which erst he felt that forward goes, 

Regrets he'd sunk in impotence, 
And hails the ideal day of virtuous eminence. 



294 POEMS OF 

III. 2. 

All ! silly man, yet smarting sore, 
« With ills which in the world he bore, 
Again on futile hope to rest. 
An unsubstantial prop at best, 
And not to know one swallow makes no summer ! 
Ah ! soon he'll find the brilliant gleam, 
"Which flashed across the hemisphere, 
IUumining the darkness there, 

Was but a simple solitary beam, 
While all around remained in customed night. 

Still leaden ignorance reigns serene, 
In the false court's delusive height, 
And only one Carlisle is seen, 
To illume the heavy gloom with pure and steady light. 



DESCRIPTION OF A SUMMER'S EVE, 

Down the sultry arc of day, 

The burning wheels have urged their way, 

And Eve along the western skies 

Sheds her intermingling dyes. 

Down the deep, the miry lane, 

Creeking comes the empty wain, 

And Driver on the shaft-horse sits, 

Whistling now and then by fits : 

And oft, with his accustomed call, 

Urging on the sluggish Ball. 

The barn is still, the master's gone, 

And Thresher puts his jacket on, 

While Dick, upon the ladder tall, 

Nails the dead kite to the wall. 

Here comes shepherd Jack at last, 

He has penned the sheep-cote fast, 

For 'twas but two nights before, 

A lamb was eaten on the moor : 




Description of a Summer's Evening. — P. 294. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 295 

His empty wallet Rover carries, 
Nor for Jack, when near home, tarries. 
With lolling tongue he runs to try, 
If the horse-trough be not dry. 
The milk is settled in the pans, 
And supper messes in the cans ; 
In the hovel carts are wheeled, 
And both the colts are drove a-field ; 
The horses are all bedded up, 
And the ewe is with the tup. 
The snare for Mister Eox is set, 
The leaven, laid, the thatching wet, 
And Bess has slinked away to talk 
With Roger in the holly- walk. 

Now on the settle all, but Bess, 
Are set to eat their supper mess ; 
And little Tom, and roguish Kate, 
Are swinging on the meadow gate. 
Now they chat of various things, 
Of taxes, ministers, and kings, 
Or else tell all the village news, 
How madam did the 'squire refuse \ 
How parson on his tithes was bent, 
And landlord oft distrained for rent. 
Thus do they talk, till in the sky 
The pale eyed moon is mounted high, 
And from the alehouse drunken Ned 
Had reeled — then hasten all to bed. 
The mistress sees that lazy Kate 
The happing coal on kitchen grate 
Has laid — while master goes throughout, 
Sees shutters fast, the mastiff out, 
The candles safe, the hearths all clear, 
And nought from thieves or fire to fear ; 
Then both to bed together creep, 
And join the general troop of sleep. 



296 poems of 



TO CONTEMPLATION. 



Come, pensive sage, who lovest to dwelt 
In some retired Lapponian cell, 
Where far from noise, and riot rude. 
Resides sequestered solitude. 
Come, and o'er my longing soul 
Throw thy dark and russet stole, 
And open to my duteous eyes, 
The volume of thy mysteries. 

I will meet thee on the hill, 

Where, with printless footstep still 

The morning in her buskin grey, 

Springs upon her eastern way ; 

While the frolic zephyrs stir, 

Playing with the gossamer, 

And, on ruder pinions borne, 

Shake the dew-drops from the thorn. 

There, as o'er the fields we pass 

Brushing with hasty feet the grass, 

We will startle from her nest, 

The lively lark with speckled breast. 

And hear the floating clouds among 

Her gale -transported matin song, 

Or on the upland stile embowered, 

With fragrant hawthorn snowy flowered, 

Will sauntering sit, and listen still, 

To the herdsman's oaten quill, 

Wafted from the plain below ; 

Or the heifer's frequent low ; 

Or the milkmaid in the grove, 

Singing of one that died for love. 

Or when the noontide heats oppress, 

We will seek the dark recess, 

Where, in the embowered translucent stream, 

The cattle shun the sultry beam, 

And o'er us, on the marge reclined, 

The drowsy fly her horn shall wind, 




Contemplation. — P. 296. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 207 

While echo, from her ancient oak, 
Shall answer to the woodman's stroke ; 
Or the little peasant's song, 
Wandering lone the glens among, 
His artless lip with berries died, 
And feet through ragged shoes descried. 

But, oh, when evening's virgin queen 
Sits on her fringed throne serene, 
And min gling whispers rising near, 
Steal on the still reposing ear ; 
While distant brooks decaying round, 
Augment the mixed dissolving sound, 
And the zephyr flitting by, 
Whispers mystic harmony, 
We will seek the woody lane, 
By the hamlet, on the plain, 
Where the weary rustic nigh, 
Shall whistle his wild melody, 
And the croaking wicket oft 
Shall echo from the neighbouring croft ; 
And as we trace the green path lone, 
With moss and rank weeds overgrown, 
We will muse on pensive lore, 
Till the full soul brimming o'er, 
Shall in our upturned eyes appear, 
Embodied in a quivering tear. 
Or else, serenely silent, sit 
By the brawling rivulet, 
Which on its calm unruffled breast, 
Rears the old mossy arch impressed, 
That clasps its secret stream of glass, 
Half hid in shrubs and waving grass, 
The wood-nymph's lone secure retreat, 
XJnpressed by fawn or sylvan' s feet, 
We'll watch in Eve's ethereal braid, 
The rich vermilion slowly fade ; 
Or catch, faint twinkling from afar, 
The first glimpse of the eastern star. 



298 POEMS OF 

Pair vesper, mildest lamp of light, 
That heralds in imperial night : 
Meanwhile, npon our wondering ear, 
Shall rise, though low, yet sweetly clear, 
The distant sounds of pastoral lute, 
Invoking soft the sober suit 
Of dimmest darkness — fitting well 
"With love, or sorrow's pensive spell, 
(So erst did music's silver tone, 
lv ake slumbering chaos on his throne.) 
And haply, then, with sudden swell, 
Shall roar the distant curfew bell, 
While in the castle's mouldering tower, 
The hooting owl is heard to pour 
Her melancholy song, and scare 
Dull silence brooding in the air. 
Meanwhile her dusk and slumbering car, 
Black-suited night drives on from far, 
And Cynthia's 'merging from her rear, 
Arrests the waxing darkness drear, 
And summons to her silent call 
Sweeping in their airy pall, 
The unshrived ghosts, in fairy trance, 
To join her moonshine morrice-dance ; 
While around the mystic ring, 
' The shadowy shapes elastic spring. 
Then with a passing shriek they fly, 
Wrapt in mists along the sky, 
And oft are by the shepherd seen, 
In his lone night watch on the green. 

Then, hermit, let us turn our feet, 
To the low Abbey's still retreat, 
Embowered in the distant glen, 
Ear from the haunts of busy men, 
Where, as we sit upon the tomb, 
The glow-worm's light may gild the gloom, 
And show to fancy's saddest eye, 
Where some lost hero's ashes lie. 






HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 299 

And oh, as through the mouldering arch, 

With ivy filled and weeping larch, 

The night gale whispers sadly clear, 

Spealyng dear things to fancy's ear, 

We'll hold communion with the shade, 

Of some deep-wailing ruined maid — 

Or call the ghost of Spencer down, 

To tell of woe and fortune's frown ; 

And bid us cast the eye of hope, 

Beyond this bad world's narrow scope. 

Or if these joys, to us denied, 

To linger by the forest's side ; 

Or in the meadow or the wood, 

Or by the lone romantic flood ; 

Let us in the busy town, 

When sleep's dull streams the people drown, 

Ear from drowsy pillows flee, 

And turn the church's massy key ; 

Then, as through the painted glass, 

The moon's pale beams obscurely pass 

And darkly on the trophied wall, 

Her faint ambiguous shadows fall ; 

Let us, while the faint winds wail, 

Through the long reluctant aisle, 

As we pace with reverence meet, 

Count the echoings of our feet ; 

While from the tombs, with confess' d breath, 

Distinct responds the voice of death. 

If thou, mild sage, wilt condescend, 

Thus on my footsteps to attend, 

To thee my lonely lamp shall burn, 

By fallen Genius' sainted urn ! 

As o'er the scroll of Time I pour, 

And sagely spell of ancient lore. 

Till I can rightly guess of all 

That Plato could to memory call, 

And scan the formless views of things 

Or with old Egypt's fettered kings, 



300 poe:,is of 

Arrange the mystic trains that shine 
In night's high philosophic mine ; 
And to thy name shall e'er belong 
The honours of undying song. 



ODE TO THE GENIUS OF ROMANCE. 

Oh, thou who in my early youth, 
When fancy wore the garb of truth, 
Wert wont to win my infant feet, 
To some retired, deep-fabled seat, 
Where by the brooklet's secret tide, 
The midnight ghost was known to glide ; 
Or lay me in some lonely glade, 
In native Sherwood's forest shade, 
Where Robin Hood, the outlaw bold, 
Was wont his sylvan courts to hold ; 
And there as musing deep I lay, 
Would steal my little soul away, 
And all thy pictures represent, 
Of siege and solemn tournament ; 
Or bear me to the magic scene, 
Where clad in greaves and gaberdine, 
The warrior knight of chivalry, 
Made many a fierce enchanter flee ; 
And bore the high born dame away, 
Long held the fell magician's prey. 
Or oft would tell the shuddering tale 
Of murders, and of goblins pale, 
Haunting the guilty baron's side, 
(Whose floors with secret blood were dyed,) 
Which o'er the vaulted corridore, 
On stormy nights was heard to roar, 
By old domestic, wakened wide 
By the angry winds that chide. 
Or else the mystic tale would tell, 
Of Greensleeve, or of Blue-Beard fell. 
* * & * 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 301 



TBuS SAVOYARD'S RETURN. 



Oh, yonder is the well-known spot, 

My dear, my long-lost native home ! 
Oh ! welcome is yon little cot, 

Where I shall rest, no more to roam ! 
Oh ! I have travelled far and wide, 

O'er many a distant foreign land ; 
Each place, each province I have tried, 

And sung and danced my saraband. 
But all their charms could not prevail, 
Tc steal my heart from yonder vale. 

ii. 

Of distant climes the false report 

It lured me from my native land ; 
It bade me rove — my sole support 

My cymbals and my saraband. 
The woody dell, the hanging rock, 

The chamois skipping o'er the heights ; 
The plain adorned with many a flock, . 

And, oh ! a thousand more delights, 
That grace yon dear beloved retreat, 
Have backward won my weary feet. 

in. 

Now safe returned, with wandering tired, 

No more my little home I'll leave ; 
And many a tale of what I've seen 

Shall while away the winter's eve. 
Oh ! I have wandered far and wide, 

O'er many a distant foreign land ; 
Each place, each province I have tried, 

And sung and danced my saraband ; 
But all their charms could not prevail, 
To steal my heart from yonder vale. 



302 POEMS OP 



LINES 



Written Impromptu, on reading the following passage in Mr. 
Capel Lofft's beautiful and interesting preface to Nathaniel 
Bloomfieid's poems, just published. — " It has a mixture of the 
sportive, which deepens the impression of its melancholy close. 
I could have wished, as I have said in a short note, the conclu- 
sion had been otherwise. The sours of life less offend my taste 
than its sweets delight it." 

Go to the raging sea, and say, u Be still," 
Bid the wild lawless winds obey thy will ; 
Preach to the storm, and reason with despair, 
Bnt tell not Misery's son that life is fair I 

Thon, who in Plenty's lavish lap hast rolled, 
And every year with new delight hast told, 
Thon, who recnmbent on the lacquered barge, 
Hast dropt down joy's gay stream of pleasant marge, 
Thou mayst extol life's calm, untroubled sea, 
The storms of misery never burst on thee I 

Go to the mat, where squalid want reclines, 
Go to the shade obscure, where Merit pines ; 
Abide with him whom penury's charms control, 
And bind the rising yearnings of his soul, 
Survey his sleepless couch, and standing there, 
Tell the poor pallid wretch, that life is fair I 

Press thou the lonely pillow of his head, 
And ask why sleep his languid eyes has fled : 
Mark his dewed temples, and his half-shut eye, 
His trembling nostrils, and his deep-drawn sigh, 
His mutt'ring mouth, contorted with despair, 
And ask if Genius could inhabit there. 

Oh yes ! that sunken eye with fire once gleamed, 
And rays of light from its full circlet streamed ; 
But now Neglect has stung him to the core, 
And Hope's wild raptures thrill his breast no more 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 303 

Domestic Anguish winds his vitals round, 
And added Grief compels him to the ground. 
Lo ! o'er his manly form, decayed, and wan, 
The shades of death with gradual steps steal on ; 
And the pale mother pining to decay, 
Weeps for her boy, her wretched life away. 

Go, child of Fortune ! to his early grave, 
Where o'er his head obscure the rank weeds wave ; 
Behold the heart-wrung parent lay her head 
On the cold turf, and ask to share his bed. 
Go, child of Fortune, take thy lesson there, 
And tell us then that life is wondrous fair I 

Yet, Lofffc, in thee, whose hand is still stretched forth, 
T' encourage genius, and to foster worth ; 
On thee, th' unhappy' s firm, unfailing friend, 
'Tis just that every blessing should descend ; 
"lis just that life to thee should only show, 
Her fairer side but little mixed with woe. 



WRITTEN IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH. 

Sad solitary ThougKt, who keep'st thy vigils, 

Thy solemn vigils, in the sick man's mind ; 

Communing lonely with Ins sinking soul, 

And musing on the dubious glooms that lie 

In dim obscurity before him, — thee, 

Wrapt in thy dark magnificence, I call 

At this still midnight hour, this awful season, 

When on my bed, in wakeful restlessness, 

I turn me wearisome ; while all around, 

All, all save me, sink in forgetfulness ; 

I only wake to watch the sickly taper 

Which lights me to my tomb. — Yes, 'tis the hand 

Of death I feel press heavy on my vitals, 

Slow sapping the warm current of existence. 



304 POE3IS OF 

My moments now are few — The sand of life 

Ebbs fastly to its finish. — Yet a little, 

And the last fleeting particle will fall 

Silent, unseen, unnoticed, unlamented. 

Come then, sad thought, and let us meditate, 

"While meditate we may. — We have now 

But a small portion of what men call time 

To hold communion ; for even now the knife, 

The separating knife, I feel divide 

The tender bond that binds my soul to earth. 

Yes, I must die — I feel that I must die ; 

And though to me has life been dark and dreary, 

Though hope for me has smiled but to deceive, 

And disappointment still pursued her blandishments : 

Yet do I feel my soul recoil within me 

As I contemplate the dim gulf of death, 

The shuddering void, the awful blank — futurity. 

Aye, I had planned full many a sanguine scheme 

Of earthly happiness, — romantic schemes, 

And fraught with loveliness ; and it is hard 

To feel the hand of death arrest one's steps, 

Throw a chill blight o'er all one's budding hopes, 

And hurl one's soul untimely to the shades, 

Lost in the gaping gulf of black oblivion. 

Fifty years hence, and who will hear of Henry ? 

Oh ! none ; — another busy brood of beings 

Will shoot up in the interim, and none 

"Will hold him in remembrance. I shall sink, 

As sinks a stranger in the crowded streets 

Of busy London ; — Some short bustle's caused, 

A few inquiries, and the crowds close in, 

And all's forgotten. — On my grassy grave 

The men of future times will careless tread, 

And read my name upon the sculptured stone ; 

Nor will the sound, familiar to their ears, 

Recall my vanished memory. — I did hope 

For better things ! — I hoped I should not leave 

The earth without a vestige : — Fate decrees 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 305 

It shall be otherwise, and I submit. 
Henceforth, oh world, no more of thy desires ! 
No more of hope ! the wanton vagrant Hope ! 
I abjure all. — Now other cares engross me, 
And my tired soul with emulative haste, 
Looks to its God, and prunes its wings for Heaven. 






PASTORAL SONG. 

Come, Anna ! come, the morning dawns, 

Eaint streaks of radiance tinge the skies ; 
Come, let us seek the dewy lawns, 
And watch the early lark arise ; 
While nature clad in vesture gay, 
Hails the loved return of day. 

Our flocks that nip the scanty blade 

Upon the moor, shall seek the vale ; 
And then, secure beneath the shade, 
We'll listen to the throstle's tale ; 
And watch the silver clouds above, 
As o'er the azure vault they rove. 

Come, Anna ! come, and bring thy lute, 
That with its tones, so softly sweet, 
In cadence with my mellow flute, 
We may beguile the noon-tide heat ; 
While near the mellow bee shall join, 
To raise a harmony divine. . 

And then at eve, when silence reigns, 

Except when heard the beetle's hum; 
We'll leave the sober-tinted plains, 

To these sweet heights again we'll come , 
And thou to thy soft lute shalt play 
A solemn vesper to departing day. 



306 POEMS OF 



ODE TO MIDNIGHT. 

Season of general rest, whose solemn still 
Strikes to the trembling heart a fearfnl chill, 

But speaks to philosophic souls delight : 
Thee do I hail, as at my casement high, 
My candle waning melancholy by, 

I sit and taste the holy calm of night. 

Yon pensive orb that through the ether sails, 
And gilds the misty shadows of the vales, 

Hanging in thy dull rear her vestal flame ; 
To her, while all around in sleep recline, 
"Wakeful I raise my orisons divine, 

And sing the gentle honours of her name ; 

While Fancy lone o'er me her votary bends, 
To lift my soul her fairy visions sends, 

And pours upon my ear her tmilling song ; 
And Superstition's gentle terrors come, 
See, see yon dim ghost gliding through the gloom ! 

See round yon churchyard elm what spectres throng ! 

Meanwhile I tune, to some romantic lay, 
My flageolet— and as I pensive play, 

The sweet notes echo o'er the mountain scene : 
The traveller late journeying o'er the moors, 
Hears them aghast, — (while still the dull owl pours 

Her hollow screams each dreary pause between). 

Till in the lonely tower he spies the light, 
Now faintly flashing on the glooms of night, 

W r here I, poor muser, my lone vigils keep ; 
And 'mid the dreary solitude serene, 
Cast a much-meaning glance upon the scene, 

And raise my mournful eye to Heaven and weep. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE, 307 



ODE TO THOUGHT. 



WBITTEN AT MIDNIGHT. 









Hence away, vindictive Thought ! 

Thy pictures are of pain ; 
The visions through thy dark eye caught, 
They with no gentle charms are fraught, 
So prithee back again. 
I would not weep, 
I wish to sleep, 
Then why, thou busy foe, with me thy vigils keep ? 



Why dost o'er bed and couch recline ? 

Is this thy new delight ? 
Pale visitant, it is not thine 
To keep thy sentry through the mine, 
The dark vault of the night : 
'Tis thine to die, 
While o'er the eye, 
The dews of slumber press, and waking sorrows fly, 



Go thou and bide with him who guides 

His bark through lonely seas ; 
And as, reclining on his elm, 
Sadly he marks the starry realm, 
To him thou mayst bring ease ; 
But thou to me 
Art misery, 
So prithee, prithee plume thy wings and from my pillow i 
x 2 



308 FOEMS OF 



And Memory, pray what art thou ? 

Art thou of pleasure born ? 
Does bliss untainted from thee flow ? 
The rose that gems thy pensive brow, 
Is it without a thorn ? 
With all thy smiles, 
And witching wiles, 
Yet not unfrequent bitterness thy mournful sway defiles. 



The drowsy night-watch has forgot 

To call the solemn hour ; 
Lull'd by the winds he slumbers deep, 
While I in vain, capricious sleep, 
Invoke thy tardy power ; 
And restless lie, 
With unclosed eye, 
And count the tedious hours as slow they minute by. 



GENIUS, 

AX ODE. 



I. 1. 

Many there be who, through the vale of life, 

With velvet pace, unnoticed, softly go, 
While jarring discord's inharmonious strife 

Awakes them not to woe. 
By them unheeded, carking care, 
Green-eyed grief, and dull despair ; 
Smoothly they pursue their way, 

With even tenour, and with equal breath ; 
Alike through cloudy, and through sunny day, 

Then sink in peace to death. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 309 

II. 1. 

But ah ! a few there be whom griefs devour, 

And weeping woe, and disappointment keen, 
Repining penury, and sorrow sour, 

And self-consuming spleen. 
And these are Genius' favourites : these 
Know the thought-throned mind to please, 
And from her fleshy seat to draw 

To realms where Fancy's golden orbits roll, 
Disdaining all but 'wildering rapture's law, 

The captivated soul. 

in. 1. 

Genius, from thy starry throne, 

High above the burning zone, 

In radiant robe of light arrayed, 

Oh hear the plaint by thy sad favourite made, 

His melancholy moan. 
He tells of scorn, he tells of broken vows, 

Of sleepless nights, of anguish-ridden days, 
Pangs that his sensibility uprouse 

To curse his being, and his thirst for praise. 
Thou gavest to him, with treble force to feel, 

The sting of keen neglect, the rich man's scorn, 
And what o'er all does in his soul preside 

Predominant, and tempers him to steel, 
His high indignant pride. 

I. 2. 

Lament not ye, who humbly steal through life, 

That Genius visits not your lowly shed ; 
Eor ah, what woes and sorrows ever rife, 

Distract his hapless head ! 
Eor him awaits no balmy sleep, 
He wakes all night, and wakes to weep ; 
Or, by his lonely lamp he sits, 

At solemn midnight, when the peasant sleeps, 
In feverish study, and in moody fits 

His mournful vigils keeps. 



310 POEMS OF 



ii. 2. 



And, oh ! for what consumes his watchful oil ? 

Eor what does thus he waste life's fleeting breath ? 
J Tis for neglect and penury he doth toil, 

5 Tis for untimely death. 
Lo ! where, dejected, pale, he lies, 
Despair depicted in his eyes, 
He feels the vital flame decrease, 

He sees the grave, wide yawning for its prey, 
Without a friend to soothe his soul to peace, 

And cheer the expiring ray. 

in. 2. 

By Sulmo's bard of mournful fame, 
By gentle Ot way's magic name, 
By him, the youth, who smiled at death, 
And rashly dared to stop his vital breath, 

Will I thy pangs proclaim ; 
For still to misery closely thou'rt allied, 
Though gaudy pageants glitter by thy side, 

And far resounding fame. 
What though to thee the dazzled millions bow, 
And to thy posthumous merit bend them low ; 
Though unto thee the monarch looks with awe, 
And thou, at thy flashed car, dost nations draw, 
Yet ah ! unseen behind thee fly 

Corroding anguish, soul-subduing pain, 

And discontent that clouds the fairest sky : 

A melancholy train. 

Yes, Genius, thee a thousand cares await, 

Mocking thy derided state ; 

Thee, chill Adversity will still attend, 

Before whose face flies fast the summer's friend, 
And leaves thee all forlorn ; 
While leaden Ignorance rears her head and laughs, 

And fat Stupidity shakes his jolly sides, 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 311 

And while the cup of affluence he quaffs 

With bee-eyed wisdom, Genius derides, 
Who toils, and every hardship doth outbrave, 
To gain the meed of praise, when he is mouldering in his 
grave. 



FRAGMENT OF AN ODE TO THE MOON. 



Mild orb who floatest through the realm of night, 

A pathless wanderer o'er a lonely wild ; 
Welcome to me thy soft and pensive light, 

Which oft in childhood my lone thoughts beguiled. 
Now doubly dear as o'er my silent seat, 
Nocturnal study's still retreat, 
It casts a mournful melancholy gleam, 
And through my lofty casement weaves, 
Dim through the vine's encircling leaves, 
An intermingled beam. 

ii. 

These feverish dews that on my temples hang, 

This quivering lip, these eyes of dying flame ; 
These the dread signs of many a secret pang, 

These are the meed of him who pants for fame ! 
Pale Moon, from thoughts like these divert my soul : 

Lowly I kneel before thy shrine on high ; 
My lamp expires ; — beneath thy mild control, 

These restless dreams are ever wont to fly. 

Come, kindred mourner, in my breast, 
Soothe these discordant tones to rest, 

And breathe the soul of peace ; 
Mild visitor, I feel thee here, 
It is not pain that brings this tear, 

For thou hast bid it cease, 



312 POEMS OF 

Oh ! many a year lias passed away, 
Since I beneath thy fairy ray, 
Attuned my infant reed ; 
"When wilt thou, Time, those days restore, 
Those happy moments now no more, 

* * * * 
When on the lake's damp marge I lay, 

And marked the northern meteor's dance ; 
Bland Hope and Eancy, ye were there, 
To inspirate my trance. 

Twin sisters, faintly now ye deign 
Your magic sweets on me to shed, 
In vain your powers are now essayed 

To chase superior pain. 

And art thou fled, thou welcome orb ? 

So swiftly pleasure flies ; 
So to mankind, in darkness lost, 

The beam of ardour dies, 
Wan Moon, thy nightly task is done, 
And now, encurtained in the main, 

Thou sinkest into rest ; 
TSut I, in vain, on thorny bed, 
S jail woo the god of soft repose— 

* * * * 



FEAGMENT. 



Oh ! thou most fatal of Pandora's train, 

Consumption! silent cheater of the eye ; 
Thou comest not robed in agonizing pain, 

Nor mark'st thy course with Death's delusive dye, 
But silent and unnoticed thou dost lie : 

O'er life's soft springs thy venom dost diffuse, 
And, while thou givest new lustre to the eye, 

While o'er the cheek are spread health's ruddy hues, 
E'en then life's little rest thy cruel power subdues. 



HENRY KIEKE WHITE. 313 

Oft I've beheld thee in the glow of youth, 
Hid 'neath the blushing roses which there bloomed ; 

And dropt a tear, for then thy cankering tooth 
I knew would never stay, till, all consumed, 

In the cold vault of death he were entombed. 

But oh ! what sorrow did I feel, as, swift, 

Insidious ravager, I saw thee fly 
Through fair Lucina's breast of whitest snow, 

Preparing swift her passage to the sky. 
Though still intelligence beamed in the glance, 

The liquid lustre of her fine blue eye ; 
Yet soon did languid listlessness advance, 
And soon she calmly sunk in death's repugnant trance. 

Even when her end was swiftly drawing near, 
And dissolution hovered o'er her head; 

Even then so beauteous did her form appear, 
That none who saw her but admiring said, 
Sure so much beauty never could be dead. 

Yet the dark lash of her expressive eye, 

Bent lowly down upon the languid 



314 POEMS OF 

SONNETS. 



TO CAPEL LOFFT, ESQ. 

Lofft, unto thee, one tributary song, 

The simple Muse, admiring, fain would bring ; 

She longs to lisp thee to the listening throng, 
And with thy name to bid the woodlands ring. 

Earn would she blazon all thy yirtues forth, 
Thy warm philanthropy, thy justice mild, 

Would say how thou didst foster kindred worth, 
And to thy bosom snatched misfortune's child : 

Eirm she would paint thee, with becoming zeal, 
Upright, and learned, as the Pylian sire, 
"Would say how sweetly thou couldst sweep the lyre, 

And show thy labours for the public weal, 
Ten thousand yirtues tell with joys supreme, 
But ah ! she shrinks abashed before the arduous theme. 



TO THE MOON. 

WEITTEX IN KOVEMBEK. 

Sublme, emerging from the misty yerge 
Of the horizon dim, thee, Moon, I hail, 
As sweeping o'er the leafless groye, the gale 

Seems to repeat the year's funereal dirge. 

Now Autumn sickens on tne janguid sight, 
And falling leaves bestrew the wanderer's way, 

Now unto thee, pale arbitress of night, 
With double joy my homage do I pay. 
When clouds disguise the glories of the day, 

And stern November sheds her boisterous blight, 
How doubly sweet to mark the moony ray 

Shoot through the mist from the ethereal height, 
And, still unchanged, back to the memory bring 
The smiles Eayonian of life's earliest spring. 



HENKY KIEKE WHITE. 315 



WRITTEN AT THE GRAVE OF A FRIEND. 

East from the West the fading day-streaks fly, 

And ebon night assnmes her solemn sway ; 
Yet here alone, unheeding time, I lie, 

And o'er my friend still pour the plaintive lay. 
Oh ! 'tis not long since, George, with thee I woo'd 

The maid of musings by yon moaning wave ; 
And hailed the moon's mild beam, which now renewed 

Seems sweetly sleeping on thy silent grave ! 
The busy world pursues its boisterous way, 

The noise of revelry still echoes round ; 
Yet I am sad while all beside is gay ; 

Yet still I w r eep o'er thy deserted mound. 
Oh ! that like thee I might bid sorrow cease, 
And 'neath the green-sward sleep — the sleep of peace. 



TO MISFORTUNE. 

Misfortune, I am young, — my chin is bare, 

And I have wondered much when men have told 
How youth was free from sorrow and from care, 

That thou shouldst dwell with me, and leave the old. 
Sure dost not like me ! — Shrivelled hag of hate, 

My phiz, and thanks to thee, is sadly long ; 

I am not either, Beldame, over strong ; 
Nor do I wish at all to be thy mate, 
Eor thou, sweet Eury, art my utter hate. 
Nay, shake not thus thy miserable pate ; 
I am yet young, and do not like thy face ; 
And lest thou shouldst resume the wild-goose chace, 
I'll tell thee something all thy heat to assuage, 
Thou wilt not hit my fancy in my age. 



31 G POEMS OF 



As thus oppressed with many a heavy care, 
(Though young yet sorrowful), I turn my feet 
To the dark woodland, — longing much to greet 
The form of peace, if chance she sojourn there ; 
Deep thought and dismal, verging to despair, 

Fills my sad breast ; — and tired with this vain coil, 
I shrink dismayed before life's upland toil. 
And as amid the leaves the evening air, 
Whispers still melody, — I think ere long, 

When 1 no more can hear, these woods will speak ; 
And then a sad smile plays upon my cheek, 
And mournful fantasies upon me throng, 
And I do ponder with most strange delight, 
On the calm slumbers of the dead man's night. 



TO APRIL. 

Emblem of life ! see changeful April sail 
In varying vest along the shadowy skies, 
Now, bidding Summer's softest zephyrs rise, 
Anon, recalling Winter's stormy gale, 
And pouring from the cloud her sudden hail ; 

Then, smiling through the tear that dims her eyes, 
While Iris with her braid the welkin dyes, 
Promise of sunshine, not so prone to fail. 
So, to us sojourners in life's low vale, 
The smiles of Fortune flatter to deceive, 
While still the Fates the web of Misery weave. 
So Hope exultant spreads her aery sail, 
And from the present gloom, the soul conveys, 
To distant summers, and far happier days. 



HENRY KIRKE V/HITE. 317 



Ye unseen spirits, whose wild melodies, 
At evening rising slow, yet sweetly clear, 
Steal on the musing poet's pensive ear, 
As by the wood-spring stretched snpine he lies ^ 
When he who now invokes yon, low is laid, 

His tired frame resting on the earth's cold bed ; 
Hold ye your nightly vigils o'er his head, 

And chant a dirge to his reposing shade ! 
Tor he was wont to love your madrigals ; 
And often by the haunted stream that laves 
The dark sequestered woodland's inmost caves, 
Would sit and listen to the dying falls, 
Till the full tear would quiver in his eye, 
And his big heart would heave with mournful ecstasy. 



TO A TAPEE. 

'Tis midnight. — On the globe dead slumber sits, 

And all is silence — in the hour of sleep ; 
Save when the hollow gust, that swells by fits, 

In the dark wood roars fearfully and deep. 
I wake alone to listen and to weep, 

To watch, my taper, thy pale beacon burn ; 
And, as still memory does her vigils keep, 

To think of days that never can return. 
By thy pale ray I raise my languid head, 

My eye surveys the solitary gloom ; 
And the sad meaning tear, unmixt with dread, 

Tells thou dost light me to the silent tomb. 
Like thee I wane ; — like thine my life's last ray 
Will fade in loneliness, unwept, away. 



318 POEMS OF 



Yes, 'twill be over soon. — This sickly dream 

Of life will vanish from my feverish brain ; 
And death my wearied spirit will redeem 

From this wild region of unvaried pain. 
Yon brook will glide as softly as before, — 

Yon landscape smile, — yon golden harvest grow,- 
Yon sprightly lark on mounting wing will soar, 

TThen Henry's name is heard no more below. 
I sigh when all my youthful friends caress, 

They laugh in health, and future evils brave; 
Them shall a wife and smiling children bless, 

"While I am mouldering in ^ny silent grave. 
God of the just, — Thou gavest the bitter cup ; 
I bow to thy behest, and drink it up. 



TO CONSUMPTION. 

Gently, most gently, on thy victim's head, 
Consumption, lay thine hand ! — let me decay, 
Like the expiring lamp, unseen, away, 

And softly go to slumber with the dead. 

And if 'tis true what holy men have said, 
That strains angelic oft foretel the day 
Of death, to those good men who fall thy prey, 

let the aerial music round my bed, 

Dissolving sad in dying symphony, 

Whisper the solemn warning in mine ear ; 

That I may bid my weeping friends good bye, 
Ere I depart upon my journey drear : 

And smiling faintly on the painful past, 

Compose my decent head, and breathe my last. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 319 



TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF M. DESBARREAUX. 

Thy judgments, Lord, are just ; thou lovest to wear 

The face of pity, and of love divine ; 
But mine is guilt — thou must not, canst not, spare, 

While Heaven is true, and equity is thine. 
Yes, oh, my God ! — such crimes as mine, so dread, 

Leave but the choice of punishment to thee ; 
Thy interest calls for judgment on my head, 

And even thy mercy dares not plead for me ! 
Thy will be done — since 'tis thy glory's due, 

Did from mine eyes the endless torrents flow ; 
Smite — it is time— though endless death ensue, 

I bless the avenging hand that lays me low. 
But on what spot shall fall thine anger's flood, 
That has not first been drench' d in Christ's atoning blood ? 



320 



POEMS 



OF A LATER DATE. 



TO A FRIEND IN DISTRESS, 

Who, when the author reasoned with him calmly, asked, 
" If he did not feel for him?** 

"Do I not feel!" The doubt is keen as steel. 

Yea, I do feel — most exquisitely feel ; 

My heart can weep, when from my downcast eye 

I chase the tear, and stem the rising sigh : 

Deep buried there I close the rankling dart, 

And smile the most when heaviest is my heart. 

On this I act — whatever pangs surround, 

} Tis magnanimity to hide the wound. 

When all was new, and life was in its spring, 

I lived an unloved solitary thing ; 

Even then I learnt to bury deep from day 

The piercing cares that wore my youth away. 

Even then I learnt for others' cares to feel, 

Even then I wept I had not power to heal ; 

Even then, deep -sounding through the nightly gloom, 

I heard the wretched' s groan, and mourn' d the wretched's 

doom. 
Who were my friends in youth ? — The midnight fire — 
The silent moonbeam, or the starry choir ; 
To these I 'plained, or turned from outer sight, 
To bless my lonely taper's friendly light ; 
I never yet could ask, howe'er forlorn, 
Eor vulgar pity mix'd with vulgar scorn; 



POEMS OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 321 

The sacred source of woe I never ope, 

My breast's my coffer, and my God's my hope. 

But that I do feel, time, my friend, will show, 

Though the cold crowd the secret never know ; 

With them I laugh — yet when no eye can see, 

I weep for nature, and I weep for thee. 

Yes, thou didst wrong me, ; I fondly thought, 

In thee I'd found the friend my heart had sought ; 

I fondly thought that thou couldst pierce the guise, 

And read the truth that in my bosom lies ; 

I fondly thought ere Time's last days were gone, 

Thy heart and mine had mingled into one ! 

Yes — and they yet will mingle. Days and years 

Will fly, and leave us partners in our tears : 

We then shall feel that friendship has a power, 

To soothe affliction in her darkest hour ; 

Time's trial o'er, shall clasp each other's hand, 

And wait the passport to a better land. 

Thine, 

H. K. White. 
Half-past 11 o'clock at night. 



CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1804. 

Yet once more, and once more, awake, my harp, 
Eroni silence and neglect — one lofty strain ; 
Lofty, yet wilder than the winds of Heaven, 
And speaking mysteries, more than words can tell, 
I ask of thee ; for I, with hymnings high, 
Would join the dirge of the departing year. 

Yet with no wintry garland from the woods, 
Wrought of the leafless branch, or ivy sere, 
Wreathe 1 thy tresses, dark December ! now ; 
Me higher quarrel calls, with loudest song, 
And fearful joy, to celebrate the day 
Of the Redeemer. — Near two thousand suns 

Y 



322 poems op 

Hare set their seals upon the rolling lapse 
Of generations, since the day-spring first 
Beamed from on high ! — Xow to the mighty mass 
Of that increasing aggregate, we add 
One unit more. Space, in comparison 
How small, yet marked with how much misery; 
Wars, famines, and the fury, Pestilence, 
Over the nations hanging her dread scourge ; 
The oppressed, too, in silent bitterness, 
Weeping their sufferance ; and the arm of wrong 
Forcing the scanty portion from the weak, 
And steeping the lone widow's couch with tears. 

So has the year been character'd with woe 

In Christian land, and mark'd with wrongs and crimes; 

Yet 'twas not thus He taught — not thus He lived, 

"Whose birth we this day celebrate with prayer 

And much thanksgiving. — He, a man of woes, 

Went ou the way appointed, — path, though rude, 

Yet borne with patience still : — He came to cheer 

The broken-hearted, to raise np the sick, 

And on the wandering and benighted mind 

To pour the light of truth. — task divine ! 

more than angel teacher ! He had words 

To soothe the barking waves, and hush the winds ; 

And when the soul was toss'd in troubled seas, 

Wrapt in thick darkness and the howling storm, 

He, pointing to the star of peace on high, 

Arm'd it with holy fortitude, and bade it smile 

At the suiTOunding wreck. 

When with deep agony his heart was rack'd, 

Not for himself the tear-drop deVd his cheek, 

For them He wept, for them to Heaven He prayed, 

His persecutors — " Father, pardon them, 

They know not what they do." 

Angels of Heaven, 
Ye who beheld him fainting on the cross, 
And did him homage, say, may mortal join 
The hallelujahs of the risen God ? 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. \ 

Will the faint voice and grovelling song be heard 
Amid the seraphim in light divine ? 
Yes, he will deign, the Prince of Peace will deign, 
Por mercy, to accept the hymn of faith, 
Low though it be and humble. — Lord of life, 
The Christ, the Comforter, thine advent now. 
Pills my uprising soul. — I mount, I fly 
Par o'er the skies, beyond the rolling orbs ; 
The bonds of flesh dissolve, and earth recedes, 
And care, and pain, and sorrow, are no more 
* * * * 



NELSONI MORS. 

Yet once again, my harp, yet once again, 

One ditty more, and on the mountain ash 

I will again suspend thee. I have felt 

The warm tear frequent on my cheek, since last 

At even-tide, when all the winds were hush'd, 

I woke to thee, the melancholy song. 

Since then with Thought fulness, a maid severe, 

I've journey' d, and have learn'd to shape the freaks 

Of frolic fancy to the line of truth ; 

Not unrepining, for my froward heart 

Still turns to thee, mine harp, and to the flow 

Of spring-gales past — the woods and storied haunts 

Of my not songless boyhood. — Yet once more, 

Not fearless, I will wake thy tremulous tones, 

My long neglected harp. — He must not sink; 

The good, the brave — he must not, shall not sink 

Without the meed of some melodious tear. 

Though from the Muse's chalice I may pour 
No precious dews of Aganippe's well, 
Or Castaly, — though from the morning cloud 
I fetch no hues to scatter on his hearse : 
y 2 



S24 POEMS OF 

Yet will I wreathe a garland for his brows, 

Of simple flowers, such as the hedgerows scent 

Of Britain, my loved country ; and with tears 

Most eloquent, yet silent, I will bathe 

Thy honour' d corse, my Nelson, tears as warm 

And honest as the ebbing blood that flow'd 

Fast from thy honest heart. — Thou Pity too, 

If ever I have loved, with faltering step, 

To follow thee in the cold and starless night, 

To the top-crag of some rain-beaten cliff ; 

And as I heard the deep gun bursting loud 

Amid the pauses of the storm, have pour'd 

"Wild strains, and mournful, to the hurrying winds, 

Thy dying soul's viaticum ; if oft 

Amid the carnage of the field I've sate 

"With thee upon the moonlight throne, and sung 

To cheer the fainting soldier's dying soul, 

With mercy and forgiveness ; visitant 

Of Heaven, sit thou upon my harp, 

And give it feeling, which were else too cold 

Eor argument so great, for theme so high. 

How dimly on that morn the sun arose, 
'Kerchieft in mists, and tearful, when 



HYMN. 

In Heaven we shall be purified, so as to be able to endure the 
splendours of the Deity. 



Awake, sweet harp of Judah, wake, 
Retune thy strings for Jesus' sake ; 
We sing the Saviour of our race, 
The Lamb, our shield, and hiding place. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 325 



When God's right arm is bared for war, 
And thunders clothe his cloudy car, 
Where, where, oh where, shall man retire, 
To escape the horrors of his ire ? 

III. 

"lis he, the Lamb, to him we fly, 
While the dread tempest passes by : 
God sees his Well-beloved's face, 
And spares us in onr hiding place. 

rv. 

Thus while we dwell in this low scene, 
The Lamb is onr unfailing screen ; 
To him, though guilty, still we run, 
And God still spares us for his Son. 

v. 

While yet we sojourn here below, 
Pollutions still our hearts o'erflow; 
Eallen, abject, mean, a sentenced race, 
We deeply need a hiding place. 

VI. 

Yet, courage ! — days and years will glide, 
And we shall lay these clods aside ; 
Shall be baptized in Jordan's flood, 
And washed in Jesus' cleansing blood. 

VI. 

Then pure, immortal, sinless, freed, 
We through the Lamb shall be decreed ; 
Shall meet the Father face to face, 
And need no more a hiding place. 

The last stanza of this hymn was added extemporaneously, by the 
author, one summer evening, when he was with a few friends on 
the Trent, and singing it,- as he was used to do on such occasions. 



326 POEMS OF 



A HYxMN FOR FAMILY WORSHIP. 

I. 

Lord, another day is flown, 

And we, a lonely band, 
Are met once more before thy throne, 

To bless thy fostering hand. 

ii. 

And wilt thon bend a listening ear, 
To praises low as onrs ? 

Thon wilt ! for thon dost love to hear 
The song which meekness ponrs. 

in. 
And Jesus thon thy smiles will deign, 

As we before thee pray : 
Eor thon didst bless the infant train, 

And we are less than they. 



let thy grace perform its part, 
And let contention cease ; 

And shed abroad in every heart 
Thine everlasting peace ! 



Thns chasten' d, cleansed, entirely thine, 

A flock by Jesns led : 
The Sun of Holiness shall shine 

In glory on our head. 

VI. 

And thou wilt turn our wandering feet. 

And thou wilt bless our way ; 
'Till worlds shall fade, and faith shall greet 

The dawn of lasting day. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 327 



THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM. 



"When mar shall' d on the nightly plain, 
The glittering host bestud the sky ; 

One star alone, of all the train, 

Can fix the sinner's wandering eye. 

ii. 

Hark ! hark ! to God the chorus breaks, 
Erom every host, from every gem ; 

But one alone the Saviour speaks, 
It is the star of Bethlehem. 

in. 

Once on the raging seas I rode, 

The storm was loud, — the night was dark, 
The ocean yawn'd, — and rudely blow'd 

The wind that toss'd my foundering bark, 

IV. 

Deep horror then my vitals froze, 

Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem ; 
When suddenly a star arose, 

It was the star of Bethlehem. 



It was my guide, my light, my all, 

It bade my dark forebodings cease ; 

And through the storm and dangers' thrall, 
It led me to the port of peace. 

VI. 

Now safely moored— my perils o'er, 
I'll sing, fiist in night's diadem, 

For ever and for evermore, 

The star !— the star of Bethlehem ! 



328 poems op 



A HYMN. 



Lord, my God, in mercy turn, 
In mercy hear a sinner mourn ! 
To thee I call, to thee I cry, 

leave me, leave me not to die ! 

1 strove against thee, Lord, I know, 

I spurn'd thy grace, I mock thy law ; 
The hour is past — the day's gone by 
And I am left alone to die. 

pleasures past, what are ye now 
But thorns about my bleeding brow ? 
Spectres that hover round my brain, 
And aggravate and mock my pain. 

Tor pleasure I have given my soul ; 
Now, Justice,* let thy thunders roll ! 
Now, Vengeance, smile — and with a blow, 
Lay the rebellious ingrate low. 

Yet Jesus, Jesus ! there I'll cling, 
I'll crowd beneath his sheltering wing ; 
I'll clasp the cross, and holding there, 
Even me, oh bliss ! — his wrath may spare. 



MELODY. 



Inserted in a collection of selected and original Songs, published Inj 
the Rev. J. Plumptke, of Clare Hall, Cambridge. 



Yes, once more that dying strain, 
Anna, touch thy lute for me ; 

Sweet, when pity's tones complain, 
Doubly sweet is melody. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 329 

II. 

While the Yirtues thus inweave 

Mildly soft the thrilling song, 
Winter's long and lonesome eve, 

Glides unfelt, unseen along. 



Thus when life hath stolen away, 
And the wintry night is near ; 

Thus shall Virtue's friendly ray, 
Age's closing evening cheer. 



SONG. 

EY WALLER. 



A lady of Cambridge lent Waller's Poems to the author, and when he 
returned them to her, she discovered an additional stanza written 
by him at the bottom of the song here copied. 

Go, lovely rose ! 
Tell her that wastes her time and me, 

That now she knows, 
When I resemble her to thee, 
How sweet and fair she seems to be. 

Tell her that's young, 
And shuns to have her graces spied ? 

That hadst thou sprung 
In deserts, where no men abide, 
Thou must have uncommended died. 

Small is the worth 
Of beauty from the light retired ; 

Bid her come forth, 
Suffer herself to be desired, 
And not blush so to be admired. 



330 POEMS OF 

Then die, that she 
The common fate of all things rare 

May read in thee ; 
How small a part of time they share, 
That are so wondrous, sweet, and fair 



[Yet, though thou fade, 
Erom thy dead leaves let fragrance rise ; 

And teach the maid, 
That goodness Time's rude hand defies, 
That virtue lives when beauty dies.] 

H. K. White. 



' 1 AM PLEASED, AND YET I'M SAD." 

I. 

When twilight steals along the ground, 
And all the bells are ringing round, 

One, two, three, four, and five ; 
I at my study window sit, 
And wrapt in many a musing fit, 

To bliss am all alive. 



But though impressions calm and sweet, 
Thrill round my heart a holy heat, 

And I am inly glad ; 
The tear-drop stands in either eye, 
And yet I cannot tell thee why, 

I am pleased, and yet I'm sad. 

in. 

The silvery rack that fiies away, 
Like mortal life or pleasure's ray, 

Does that disturb my breast ? 
Nay what have I, a studious man, 
To do with life's unstable plan, 

Or pleasure's lading vest ? 



KENRY KIRKE WHITE. 331 



Is it that here I must not stop, 
But o'er yon blue hills woody top, 

Must bend my lonely way ? 
Now, surely no, for give but me 
My own fire-side, and I shall be 

At home where'er I stray. 



Then is it that yon steeple there, 
With music sweet shall fill the air, 

When thou no more canst hear ? 
Oh no ! oh no ! for then forgiven, 
I shall be with my God in Heaven, 

Released from every fear. 



Then whence it is I cannot tell, 
But there is some mysterious spell 

That holds me when I'm glad ; 
And so the tear-drop fills my eye, 
When yet in truth I know not why, 

Or wherefore I am sad. 



SOLITUDE. 

It is not that my lot is low, 
That bids this silent tear to flow ; 
It is not grief that bids me moan, 
It is that I am all alone. 

In woods and glens I love to roam, 
When the tired hedger hies him home 
Or by the woodland pool to rest, 
When pale the star looks on its breast. 



332 POEAIS OF 

Yet when the silent evening sighs, 
With hallo w'd airs and symphonies, 
My spirit takes another tone, 
And sighs that it is all alone. 

The antnmn leaf is sere and dead, 
It floats npon the water's bed ; 
I would not be a leaf, to die 
"Without recording sorrow's sigh ! 

The woods and winds, with sudden wail, 
Tell all the same unvaried tale ; 
I've none to smile when I am free, 
And when I sigh, to sigh with me. 

Yet in my dreams a form I view, 
That thinks on me and loves me too ; 
I start, and when the vision's flown, 
1 weep that I am all alone. 



If far from me the Fates remove 
Domestic peace, connubial love ; 
The prattling ring, the social cheer, 
Affection's voice, affection's tear; 
Ye sterner powers that bind the heart, 
To me your iron aid impart ! 

teach me, when the nights are chill, 
And my fire-side is lone and still ; 
When to the blaze that crackles neai, 

1 turn a tired and pensive ear, 

And nature conquering bids me sigh, 
Eor love's soft accents whispering nigh ; 
teach me on that heavenly road, 
That leads to Truth's occult abode, 
To wrap my soul in dreams sublime, 
Till earth and care no more be mine. 



HENRY KTRKE WHITE. 333 

Let blest philosophy impart, 
Her soothing measures to my heart ; 
And while, with Plato's ravished ears, 
I list the music of the spheres ; 
Or on the mystic symbols pore, 
That hide the Chald's sublimer lore ; 
I shall not brood on summers gone, 
Nor think that I am all alone. 



I 



Panny ! upon thy breast I may not lie ! 

Eanny ! thou dost not hear me when I speak ! 
Where art thou, love ? — Around I turn my eye, 

And as I turn, the tear is on my cheek. 
Was it a dream ? or did my love behold 

Indeed my lonely couch ?— Methought the breath 
Eann'd not her bloodless lip ; her eye was cold 

And hollow, and the livery of death 
Invested her pale forehead. — Sainted maid, 

My thoughts oft rest with thee in thy cold grave, 

Through the long wintry night, when wind and wave 
Hock the dark house where thy poor head is laid. 
Yet hush ! my fond heart, hush ! there is a shore 

Of better promise ; and I know at last, 

When the long sabbath of the tomb is past, 
We two shall meet in Christ — to part no more. 



334 poems op 



VERSES. 



Thou base repiner at another's joy, 

Whose eye turns green at merit not thine own ; 
Oh far away from generous Britons fly, 
And find in meaner climes a fitter throne ! 
Away, away, it shall not be, 

That thou shalt dare defile our plains ; 
The truly generous heart disdains 
Thy meaner, lowlier fires, while he 
Joys at another's joy, and smiles at other's jollity. 

Triumphant monster ! though thy schemes succeed, — 

Schemes laid in Acheron, the brood of night, 
Yet, but a little while, and nobly freed, 

Thy happy victim will emerge to light ; 
When o'er his head in silence that reposes, 

Some kindred soul shall come to drop a tear, 
Then will his last cold pillow turn to roses, 

Which thou hadst planted with the thorn severe ; 
Then will thy baseness stand confess'd, and all 

Will curse the ungenerous fate that bade a Poet fall. 



Yet ah ! thy sorrows are too keen, too sure ! 

Couldst thou not pitch upon another prey ? 
Alas ! in robbing him thou robb'st the poor, 

Who only boast what thou wouldst take away. 
See the lone bard at midnight study sitting ; 

O'er his pale features streams his dying lamp ; 
While o'er fond fancy's paie perspective flitting, 

Successive forms their fleet ideas stamp. 
Yet, say, is bliss upon his brow impress'd ? 

Does jocund health in thought's still mansion live ? 
Lo, the cold dews that on his temples rest, 

That short quick sigh — their sad responses give ! 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 335 

And canst thon rob a poet of his song ; 

Snatch from the bard his trivial meed of praise ? 
Small are his gains, nor does he hold them long ; 

Then leave, leave him to enjoy his lays 
While yet he lives,— for, to his merits jnst, 

Though future ages join his fame to raise, 
Will the loud trump awake his cold unheeding dust ? 
* * * * 



EPIGRAM ON ROBERT BLOOMFIELD, 

Bloomfield, thy happy omeud name 
Ensures continuance to thy fame : 
"Both sense and truth this verdict give, 
Whilst fields shall bloom thy name shall live ! 



336 



FRAGMENTS. 






These fragments are the autLor's latest compositions; and were, for 
the most part, written upon the back of his mathematical papers, 
during the few moments of the last year of his life, in which he 
suffered himself to follow the impulse of his genius. 



" Saw'st thou that light ?" exclaim' d the youth, and paused; 

" Through yon dark firs it glanced, and on the stream 

That skirts the woods, it for a moment played. 

Again, more light it gleam' d, — or does some sprite 

Delude mine eyes with shapes of wood and streams, 

And lamp far beaming through the thicket's gloom, 

As from some bosom' d cabin, where the voice 

Of revelry, or thrifty watchfulness, 

Keeps in the lights at this unwonted hour ? 

No sprite deludes mine eyes, — the beam now glows 

With steady lustre. — Can it be the moon, 

Who, hidden long by the invidious veil 

That blots the Heavens, now sets behind the woods ?" — 

" No moon to-night has looked upon the sea 

Of clouds beneath her," answered Rudiger, 

" She has been sleeping with Endymion." 



HENRY KIME WHITE. 337 



IL 



The pious man, 
In this bad world, when mists and couchant storms, 
Hide Heaven's fine circlet, springs aloft in faith 
Above the clouds that threat him, to the fields 
Of ether, where the day is never veiled 
With intervening vapours ; and looks down 
Serene upon the troublous sea, that hides 
The earth's fair breast, that sea whose nether face 
To grovelling mortals frowns and darkens all ; 
Bat on whose billowy back, from man concealed 
The glaring sunbeam plays. 



m. 

Lo ! on the eastern summit, clad in grey, 
Morn, like a horseman girt for travel, comes ; 
And from his tower of mist, 
Kight's watchman hurries down. 



IV. 

There was a little bird upon that pile ; 

It perched upon a ruined pinnacle, 

And made sweet melody. 

The song was soft, yet cheerful, and most clear, 

Eor other note none swelled the air but Ms. 

It seemed as if the little chorister, 

Sole tenant of the melancholy pile, 

Were a lone hermit, outcast from his kind, 

Yet withal cheerful. — I have heard the note 

Echoing so lonely o'er the aisle forlorn, 

Much musing — 

z 



338 POEMS OF 



V. 



pale art thou, my lamp, and faint 

Thy melancholy ray : 
When the still night's unclouded saiui 

Is walking on her way. 
Through my lattice leaf embowered, 
Eair she sheds her shadowy beam ; 
And o'er my silent sacred room, 
Casts a chequered twilight gloom ; 
I throw aside the learned sheet, 

1 cannot choose but gaze, she looks so mildly street. 
Sad vestal why art thou so fair, 

Or why am I so frail ? 

Methinks thou lookest kindly on me, Moon, 

And cheerest my lone hours with sweet regards ! 

Surely like me thou'rt sad, but dost not speak 
Thy sadness to the cold unheeding crowd ; 

So mournfully coinpos'd, o'er yonder cloud 

Thou shinest, like a cresset, beaming far 

From the rude watch-tower, o'er the Atlantic wave. 



VL 

give me music — for my soul doth faint ; 

I am sick of noise and care, and now mine ear 
Longs for some air of peace, some dying plaint, 

That may the spirit from its cell unsphere. 

Hark how it falls ! and now it steals along, 
Like distant bells upon the lake at eve, 

When all is still ; and now it grows more strong, 
As when the choral train their dirges weave, 

Mellow and many-voiced ; where every close, 

O'er the old minster roof, in echoing waves reflows. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 339 

Oh ! I am wrapt aloft. My spirit soars 

Beyond the skies, and leaves the stars behind. 

Lo ! angels lead me to the happy shores, 
And floating paeans fill the buoyant wind. 

Earewell ! base earth, farewell ! my soul is freed, 

Par from its clayey cell it springs, — 
* $ & * 



VII. 



Ah ! who can say, however fair his view, 
Through what sad scenes his path may lie ? 
All ! who can give to other's woes his sigh, 

Secure his own wall never need it too ! 

Let thoughtless youth its seeming joys pursue, 
Soon will they learn to scan with thoughtful eye, 
The illusive past and dark futurity ; 

Soon will they know — 



YIII. 



And must thou go, and must we part ! 

Yes, Eate decrees, and I submit ; 
The pang that rends in twain my heart, 

Oh, Eanny, dost thou share in it ? 

Thy sex is fickle, — when away, 

Some happier youth may win thy^ 



z2 



340 poems or 

IX. 

SONNET. 

When I sit musing on the chequered past, 
(A term much darkened with untimely woes,) 
My thoughts revert to her, for whom still flows 
The tear, though half disowned ; — and binding fast 
Pride's stubborn cheat to my too yielding heart, 
I say to her she robbed me of my rest, 
When that was all my wealth. — 'Tis true my breast 
Received from her this wearying lingering smart : 
Yet ah ! I cannot bid her form depart ; 

Though wronged, I love her— yet in anger love, 
For she was most unworthy. — Then I prove 
Vindictive joy ; and on my stern front gleams, 
Throned in dark clouds, inflexible * * * 
The native pride of my much injured heart. 



When high romance o'er every wood and stream, 

Dark lustre shed, my infant mind to fire ; 
Spell-struck, and filled with many a wondering dream, 

First in the groves I woke the pensive lyre. 
All there was mystery then, the gust that woke 

The midnight echo was a spirit's dirge ; 
And unseen fairies would the moon invoke, 

To their light morrice by the restless surge. 
Now to my sobered thought with life's false smiles, 

Too much * * * 
The vagrant, Fancy, spreads no more her wiles, 

And dark forebodings now my bosom fill. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 341 



XI. 

Hushed is the lyre — the hand that swept 
The low and pensive wires, 
Robbed of its cunning, from the task retires. 

Yes — it is still — the lyre is still ; 

The spirit which its slumbers broke, 

Hath passed away, — and that weak hand that wcke 
Its forest melodies hath lost its skill. 
Yet I would press you to my lips once more, 

Ye wild, yet withering flowers of poesy ; 
Yet would I drink the fragrance which ye pour, 

Mixed with decaying odours ; for to me 
Ye have beguiled the hours of infancy, 

As in the wood-paths of my native — 



XII. 

Once more, and yet once more, 

I give unto my harp a dark-woven lay ; 
I heard the waters roar, 

I heard the flood of ages pass away. 
thou, stern spirit, who dost dwell 

In thine eternal cell, 
Noting, grey chronicler ! the silent years ; 

I saw thee rise, — I saw the scroll complete, 

Thou spakest, and at thy feet, 
The universe gave way. 



342 POEMS OF 



FRAGMENT. 



Loud rage the Triads without. — The wintry cloud 
O'er the cold north star casts her fitting shroud ; 
And Silence, pausing in some snow-clad dale, 
Starts as she hears, by fits, the shrieking gale; 
Where now shut out from every still retreat 
Her pine-clad summit, and her woodland seat, 
Shall Meditation, in her saddest mood, 
.Retire, o'er all her pensive stores to brood ? 
Shivering and blue, the peasant eyes askance 
The drifted lleeces that around him dance ; 
And hurries on his half- averted form, 
Stemming the fury of the sidelong storm. 
Hun soon shall greet his snow-topp'd [cot of thatch], 
Soon shall his 'numbed hand tremble on the latch ; 
Soon from his chimney's nook the cheerful flame 
Diffuse a genial warmth throughout his frame. 
Round the light fire, while roars the north wind loud, 
- "What merry groups of vacant faces crowd ; 
These hail his coming — these his meal prepare, 
And boast in all that cot no lurking care. 

What, though the social circle be denied, 
Even Sadness brightens at her own fireside ; 
Loves, with fixed eye, to watch the fluttering blaze, 
While musing Memory dwells on former days ; 
Or Hope, bless'd spirit ! smiles — and, still forgiven, 
Forgets the passport, while she points to Heaven. 
Then heap the fire — shut out the biting air, 
And from its station wheel the easy chair : 
Thus fenced and warm, in silence fit, 'tis sweet 
To hear without the bitter tempest beat, 
And, all alone, to sit, and muse, and sigh, 
The pensive tenant of obscurity. 

$ * * * 



HENRY KTRKE WHITE. 313 



VERSES. 

When pride and envy, and the scorn 
Of wealth, my heart with gall imbued, 

I thought how pleasant were the morn 
Of silence in the solitude ; 

To hear the forest bee on wing ; 

Or by the stream, or woodland spring, 

To lie and muse alone — alone, 

While the tinkling waters moan, 

Or such wild sounds arise, as say, 

Man and noise are far away. 

Now, surely, thought I, there's enow 

To fill life's dusty way ; 
And who will miss a poet's feet, 

Or wonder where he stray ? 
So to the woods and waste I'll go, 

And I will build an osier bower ; 
And sweetly there to me shall flow 

The meditative hour. 

And when the Autumn's withering hand 
Shall strew with leaves the sylvan land, 
I'll to the forest caverns hie : 
And in the dark and stormy nights 
I'll listen to the shrieking sprites, 
Who, in the wintry wolds and floods, 
Keep jubilee, and shred the woods ; 
Or, as it drifted soft and slow, 
Hurl in ten thousand shapes the snow. 



344 poems op 



ON WHIT-MONDAY. 

Hauk ! how the merry bells ring jocund round, 
And now they die upon the veering breeze ; 

Anon they thunder loud, 

Eull on the musing ear. 

"Wafted in varying cadence by the shore 
Of the still twinkling river, they bespeak 

A day of jubilee, — 

An ancient holyday. 

And lo ! the rural revels are begun, 
And gaily echoing to the laughing sky, 

On the smooth shaven green 

Resounds the voice of Mirth. 

Alas ! regardless of the tongue of Eate, 
That tells them 'tis but as an hour since they 

Who now are in their graves 

Kept up the Whitsun dance ; 

And that another hour, and they must fall 
Like those who went before, and sleep as still 

Beneath the silent sod, 

A cold and cheerless sleep. 

Yet why should thoughts like these intrude to scare 
The vagrant Happiness, when she will deign 

To smile upon us here, 

A transient visiter ? 

Mortals ! be gladsome while ye have the power, 
And laugh and seize the glittering lapse of joy ; 

In time the bell will toll 

That warns ye to your graves. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 345 

I to the woodland solitude will bend 

My lonesome way — where Mirth's obstreperous shout 

Shall not intrude to break 

The meditative hour. 

There will T ponder on the state of man, 
Joyless and sad of heart, and consecrate 

This day of jubilee 

To sad Reflection's shrine ; 

And I will cast my fond eye far beyond 
This world of care, to where the steeple loud 

Shall rock above the sod, 

Where I shall sleep in peace. 



ON THE DEATH OF DERMODY, THE POET. 

Child of misfortune ! offspring of the Muse ! 
Mark like the meteor's gleam, his mad career; 
With hollow cheeks and haggard eye, 
Behold, he shrieking passes by ; 

I see, I see him near : 
That hollow scream, that deepening groan ; 
It rings upon mine ear. 

Oh come ye thoughtless, ye deluded youth, 
Who clasp the syren Pleasure to your breast ; 
Behold the wreck of Genius here ; 
And drop, oh drop the silent tear 

Eor Dermody at rest ; 
His fate is yours, then from your loins 
Tear quick the silken vest. 



246 poejis of 

Saw'st thou his dying bed ! Saw'st thou his eye, 
Once flashing fire, despair's dim tear distil; 
How ghastly did it seem ; 
And then Ms dying scream ; 
Oh God ! I hear it still : 
It sounds upon my fainting sense, 
It strikes with deathly chill. 

Say, didst thou mark the brilliant poet's death ; 
Saw'st thou an anxious father by his bed, 
Or pitying friends around him stand ? 
Or didst thou see a mother's hand 

Support his languid head ? 
Oh none of these — no friend o'er him 
The balm of pity shed. 

Now come around, ye flippant sons of wealth, 
Sarcastic smile od genius fallen low ; 
Npw come around who pant for fame, 
And learn from hence, a poet's name 

Is purchased but by woe : 
And when ambition prompts to rise, 
Oh think of him below. 

!For me, poor moralizer, I will run, 
Dejected, to some solitary state : 
The muse has set her seal on me, 
She set her seal on Dermody, 

It is the seal of fate : 
In some lone spot my bones may lie, 
Secure from human hate. 

Yet ere I go I'll drop one silent tear, 

Where lies unwept the poet's fallen head : 
May peace her banners o'er him wave | 
For me in my deserted grave 

No friend a tear shall shed : 
Yet may the lily and the rose 
Eloom on my grassy bed. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 347 



THE WONDERFUL JUGGLER. 



Come all ye true hearts, who, old England to save, 
Now shoulder the musket, or plough the rough wave, 
I will sing you a song of a wonderful fellow, 
Who has ruined Jack Pudding, and broke Punchinello. 
Derry down, down, high derry down. 

This juggler is little, and ugly, and black, 

But, like Atlas, he stalks with the world at his back; 

'Tis certain, all fear of the devil he scorns ; 

Some say they are cousins ; we know he wears horns. 

Derry down. 

At hop, skip, and jump, who so famous as he ? 
He hopp'd o'er an army, he skipp'd o'er the sea ; 
And he jump'd from the desk of a village attorney 
To the throne of the Bourbons — a pretty long journey. 

Derry down. 

He tosses up kingdoms the same as a ball, 
And his cup is so fashion 5 d it catches them all; 
The Pope and Grand Turk have been heard to declare 
His skill at the long bow has made them both stare. 

Derry down. 

He has shown off his tricks in Erance, Italy, Spain; 
And Germany too knows Ins legerdemain; 
So hearing John Bull has a taste for strange sights, 
He's coming to London to put us to rights. 

Derry down. 

To encourage his puppets to venture this trip, 
He has built them such boats as can conquer a ship; 
With a gun of good metal, that shoots out so far, 
It can silence the broadsides of three men of war. 

Derry down. 



348 POEMS OF 

This new Katterfelto, his show to complete, 
Means his boats should all sink as they pass by our fleet ; 
Then, as under the ocean their course they steer right on, 
They can pepper their foes from the bed of old Triton. 

Derry down. 

If this project should fail, he has others in store; 
"Wooden horses, for instance, may bring them safe o'er ; 
Or the genius of France (as the Moniteur tells) 
May order balloons, or provide diving bells. 

Derry down. 

When Philip of Spain fitted out his Armada, 
Britain saw his designs, and could meet her invader ; 
But how to greet Bonny she never will know, 
If he comes in the style of a fish or a crow. 

Derry down. 

Now if our rude tars will so crowd up the seas, 
That his boats have not room to go down when they please, 
Can't he wait till the channel is quite frozen over, 
And a stout pair of skates will transport him to Dover. 

Derry down. 

How welcome he'll be, it were needless to say ; 
Neither he nor his pnppets shall e'er go away; 
I am sure at Ms heels we shall constantly stick, 
Till we know he has played off his very last trick. 

Derry down, down, high derry down. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 349 



SONNET TO MY MOTHER. 

And canst thou, Mother, for a moment think 
That we, thy children, when old age shall shed 
Its blanching honours on thy weary head, 

Could from our best of duties ever shrink ? 

Sooner the sun from his high sphere should sink 
Than we, ungrateful, leave thee in that day, 
To pine in solitude thy life away, 

Or shun thee, tottering on the grave's cold brink. 

Banish the thought ! — where'er our steps may roam, 
O'er smiling plains, or wastes without a tree, 
Still will fond memory point our hearts to thee, 

And paint the pleasures of thy peaceful home ; 
While duty bids us all thy griefs assuage, 
And smooth the pillow of thy sinking age. 



SONNET. 

Sweet to the gay of heart is Summer's smile, 

Sweet the wild music of the laughing Spring ; 
But ah ! my soul far other scenes beguile, 

Where gloomy storms their sullen shadows fiing. 
Is it for me to strike the Idalian string — 

Raise the soft music of the warbling wire, 
While in my ears the howls of furies ring, 

And melancholy wastes the vital fire ? 
Away with thoughts like these. To some lone cave 

Where howls the shrill blast, and where sweeps the 
wave, 
Direct my steps ; there, in the lonely drear, 

I'll sit remote from worldly noise, and muse 

Till through my soul shall Peace her balm infuse. 
And whisper sounds of comfort in mine ear. 



350 POEMS OF HENRY KIRXE WHITE. 



SONNET. 

Quick o'er the wintry waste dart fiery shafts — 

Bleak blows the blast — now howls — then faintly dies— 
And oft upon its awful wings it wafts 

Thy dying wanderer's distant, feeble cries. 
Now, when athwart the gloom gaunt horror stalks, 

And midnight hags their damned vigils hold, 
The pensive poet 'mid the wild waste walks, 

And ponders on the ills life's paths unfold. 
Mindless of clangers hovering round, he goes, 

Insensible to every outward ill ; 
Yet oft his bosom heaves with rending throes, 

And oft big tears adown his worn cheeks trill. 
Ah ! 'tis the anguish of a mental sore, 
Which gnaws his heart and bids him hope no more. 



351 

TIME. 

This poem was begun either during the publication of Clifton 
Grove or shortly afterwards. The author never laid aside the 
intention of completing it, and some of the detached parts were 
among his latest productions. 



Genius of musings, who, the midnight hour 

Wasting in woods or haunted forests wild, 

Dost watch Orion in his arctic tower, 

Thy dark eye fixed as hi some holy trance ; 

Or, when the volley' d lightnings cleave the air, 

And Ruin gaunt bestrides the winged storm, 

Sitt'st in some lonely watch-tower — where tny lamp, 

Faint-blazing, strikes the fisher's eye from far, 

And 'mid the howl of elements, unmov'd 

Dost ponder on the awful scene, and trace 

The vast effect to its superior source, — 

Spirit attend my lowly benison ! 

Tor now I strike to themes of import high 

The solitary lyre ; and borne by thee 

Above this narrow cell, I celebrate 

The mysteries of Time ! 

Sim who, august, 
Was ere these worlds were fashioned, — ere the sui: 
Sprang from the east, or Lucifer displayed 
His glowing cresset on the arch of morn, 
Or Yesper gilded the serener eve. 
Yea, He had been for an eternity ! 
Had swept unvarying from eternity 
The harp of desolation, — ere his tones 



352 poems op 

At God's command, assumed a milder strain, 
And startled on his watch, in the vast deep, 
Chaos's sluggish sentry, and evoked 
Erom the dark void the smiling universe. 

Chain' d to the grovelling frailties of the flesh 

Mere mortal man, unpurged from earthly dross, 

Cannot survey, with fixed and steady eye, 

The dim uncertain gulf, which now the Muse 

Adventurous, would explore ; — but dizzy grown, 

He topples down the abyss. — If he would scan 

The fearful chasm, and eaten a transient glimpse 

Of its unfathomable depths, that so 

His mind may turn with double joy to God, 

His only certainty and resting place ; 

He must put off a while this mortal vest, 

And learn to follow, without giddiness, 

To heights where all is vision, and surprise, 

And vague conjecture. — He must waste by night 

The studious taper, far from all resort 

Of crowds and folly, in some still retreat ; 

High on the beetling promontory's crest, 

Or in the caves of the vast wilderness, 

Where compass'd round with nature's wildest shapes, 

He may be driven to centre all his thoughts 

In the great Architect, who lives contest 

In rocks, and seas, and solitary wastes. 






So has divine philosophy, with voice 

Mild as the murmurs of the moonlight wave, 

Tutor' d the heart of him, who now awakes, 

Touching the cords of solemn minstrelsy, 

His faint, neglected song — intent to snatch 

Some vagrant blossom from the dangerous steep 

Of poesy, a bloom of such an hue, 

So sober, as may not unseemly suit 

With Truth's severer brow ; and one withal 

So hardy as shall brave the passing wind 



HENRY KXKKE WHITE. 353 

Of many winters, — rearing its meek head 

In loveliness, when he who gather 5 d it 

Is number' d with the generations gone. 

Yet not to me hath God's good providence 

Given studious leisure,* or unbroken thought, 

Such as he owns, — a meditative man, 

Who from the blush of morn to quiet eve 

Ponders, or turns the page of wisdom o'er, 

Tar from the busy crowd's tumultuous din ; 

From noise and wrangling far, and undisturb'd 

With Mirth's unholy shouts. For me the day 

Hath duties which require the vigorous hand 

Of steadfast application, but which leave 

No deep improving trace upon the mind. 

But be the day another's ; — let it pass ! 

The night's my own ! — They cannot steal my night ! 

When Evening lights her folding-star on high, 

I live and breathe, and in the sacred hours 

Of quiet and repose my spirit flies, 

Free as the morning, o'er the realms of space, 

And mounts the skies, and imps her wing for heaven. 

• 
Hence do I love the sober-suited maid ; 
Hence Night's my friend, my mistress, and my theme. 
And she shall aid me now to magnify 
The night of ages, — now when the pale ray 
Of star-light penetrates the studious gloom, 
And at my window seated, — while mankind 
Are lock'd in sleep, I feel the freshening breeze 
Of stillness blow, while, in her saddest stole, 
Thought, like a wakeful vestal at her shrine, 
Assumes her wonted sway. 

Behold the world 
Rests, and her tired inhabitants have paused 
From trouble and turmoil. The widow now 
Has ceased to weep, and her twin orphans lie 

* The author was then in an attorney's office. 
A A 



354 POEMS OF 

Lock'd in each arm, partakers of her rest. 

The man of sorrow has forgot his woes ; 

The outcast that his head is shelterless, 

His griefs unshared. — The mother tends no more 

Her daughter's dying slumbers, but, surprised 

With heaviness, and sunk upon her couch, 

Dreams of her bridals. Even the hectic, lull'd 

On Death's lean arm to rest, in visions wrapt, 

Crowning with hope's bland wreath his shuddering nurse 

Poor victim ! smiles. — Silence and deep repose 

Reign o'er the nations ; and the warning voice 

Of nature utters audibly within 

The general moral : — tells us that repose, 

Deathlike as this, but of far longer span, 

Is coming on us — that the weary crowds 

TTho now enjoy a temporary calm, 

Shall soon taste lasting quiet, wrapt around 

With grave-clothes ; and their aching, restless heads 

Mouldering in holes and corners unobserved, 

Till the last trump shall break their sullen sleep. 

Who needs a teacher to admonish him 

That flesh is grass ? — That earthly things are mist ? 

What are our joys but dreams ? and what our hopes 

But goodly shadows in a summer cloud ? 

There's not a wind that blows but bears with it 

Some rainbow promise : — Not a moment flies 

But puts its sickle in the fields of life, 

And mows its thousands, with their joys and cares. 

*Tis but as yesterday since on yon stars, 

Which now I view, the Chaldee shepherd * gazed, 

In his mid-watch observant, and disposed 

The twinkling hosts as fancy gave them shape. 

Yet in the interim what mighty shocks 

Have buffeted mankind, — whole nations razed, — 

* Alluding to the first astronomical observations made by the 
Chaldean shepherds. 



HEXRY KIEKE WHITE. 3 J 

Cities made desolate, — the polish' d sunk: 
To barbarism, and once barbaric states 
Swaying the wand of science and of arts ; 
Illustrious deeds and memorable names 
Blotted from record, and upon the tongue 
Of grey tradition voluble no more. 

Where are the heroes of the ages past ? 

Where the brave chieftains, where the mighty ones 

Who flourish/ d in the infancy of days ? 

All to the grave gone down. On their fallen fame 

Exulting, mocking at the pride of man, 

Sits grim For get fulness. — The warrior's arm 

Lies nerveless on the pillow of its shame ; 

Hush'd is his stormy voice, and quench' d the blaze 

Of his red eye-ball. — Yesterday his name 

Was mighty on the earth. — To-day — 'tis what ? 

The meteor of the night of distant years, 

That flash' d unnoticed, save by wrinkled eld, 

Musing at midnight upon prophecies, 

Who at her lonely lattice saw the gleam 

Point to the mist-poised shroud, then quietly 

Closed her pale lips, and locked the secret up 

Safe in the charnel's treasures. 

how weak 
Is mortal man ! how trifling — how confined 
His scope of vision. Puffed with confidence, 
His phrase grows big with immortality, 
And he, poor insect of a summer's day, 
Dreams of eternal honours to his name ; 
Of endless glory and perennial bays. 
He idly reasons of eternity, 
AlS of the train of ages, — when, alas ! 
Ten thousand thousand of his centuries 
Are, in comparison a little point, 

Too trivial for accompt. it is strange, 

'Tis passing strange, to mark his fallacies ; 
Behold him proudly view some pompous pile, 

AA 2 



356 poeiis of 

Whose high dome swells to emulate the skies, 

And smile and say my name shall live with this 

'Till Time shall be no more ; while at his feet, 

Yea, at his very feet the crumbling dust 

Of the fallen fabric of the other day, 

Preaches the solemn lesson. — He should know, 

That time must conquer. That the loudest blast 

That ever fill'd Renown's obstreperous trump, 

Fades in the lapse of ages, and expires. 

Who lies inhumed in the terrific gloom 

Of the gigantic pyramid ? or who 

Rear'd its huge walls ! Oblivion laughs and says, 

The prey is mine. — They sleep, and never more 

Their names shall strike upon the ear of man, 

Their memory burst its fetters. 

Where is Rome ? 
She lives but in the tale of other times ; 
Her proud pavilions are the hermit's home ; 
And her long colonnades, her public walks, 
Now faintly echo to the pilgrim's feet 
Who comes to muse in solitude, and trace, 
Through the rank moss reveal' d, her honour' d dust. 
But not to Rome alone has fate confined 
The doom of ruin ; cities numberless, 
Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Babylon, and Troy, 
And rich Phoenicia— they are blotted out, 
Half -razed from memory, and their very name 
And being in dispute. — Has Athens fallen ? 
Is polished Greece become the savage seat 
Of ignorance and sloth ? and shall we dare 

* * * * 

And empire seeks another hemisphere. 
Where now is Britain ? — Where her laurelTd names, 
Her palaces and halls. Dash'd in the dust. 
Some second Vandal hath reduced her pride, 
And with one big recoil hath thrown her back 

To primitive barbarity. Again, 

Through her depopulated vales, the scream 






HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 357 

Of bloody superstition hollow rings, 

And the scarr'd native to the tempest howls 

The yell of deprecation. O'er her marts 

Her crowded ports, broods Silence ; and the cry 

Of the low curlew, and the pensive dash 

Of distant billows, breaks alone the void. 

Even as the savage sits upon the stone 

That marks where stood her capitols, and hears 

The bittern booming in the weeds, he shrinks 

Erom the dismaying solitude. — Her bards 

Sing in a language that hath perished ; 

And their wild harps, suspended o'er their graves, 

Sigh to the desert winds a dying strain. 

Meanwhile the arts, in second infancy, 

Rise in some distant clime and then perchance 

Some bold adventurer, filled with golden dreams, 

Steering his bark through trackless solitudes, 

Where, to his wandering thoughts, no daring prow 

Hath ever ploughed before, — espies the cliffs 

Of fallen Albion. — To the land unknown 

He journeys joyful; and perhaps descries 

Some vestige of her ancient stateliness ; 

Then he, with vain conjecture, fills his mind 

Of the unheard of race, which had arrived 

At science in that solitary nook, 

Ear from the civil world : and sagely sighs 

And moralizes on the state of man. 

Still on its march, unnoticed and unfelt, 
Moves on our being. We do live and breathe, 
And we are gone. The spoiler heeds us not. 
We have our spring-time and our rottenness ; 
And as we fall, another race succeeds 
To perish likewise. — Meanwhile nature smiles — 
The seasons run their round — the sun fulfils 
His annual course — and heaven and earth remain 
Still changing, yet unchanged — still doom'd to feel 



358 POEMS OF 

Endless mutation in perpetual rest. 

Where are conceal' d the days which have elapsed ? 

Hid in the mighty cavern of the past, 

They rise upon us only to appal, 

By indistinct and half -glimpsed images, 

Misty, gigantic, huge, obscure, remote. 

Oh it is fearful, on the midnight couch, 

"When the rude rushing winds forget to rave, 

And the pale moon, that through the casement high 

Surveys the sleepless muser, stamps the hour 

Of utter silence, it is fearful then 

To steer the mind, in deadly solitude, 

Up the vague stream of probability : 

To wind the mighty secrets of the past, 

And turn the key of time ! — Oh who can strive 

To comprehend the vast, the awful truth, 

Of the eternity that hath gone by, 

And not recoil from the dismaying sense 

Of human impotence ? The life of man 

Is summ'd in birth-days and in sepulchres ; 

But the Eternal God had no beginning ; 

He hath no end. Time had been with him 

For everlasting, ere the daedal world 

Bose from the gulf in loveliness. — Like him 

It knew no source, like lnm 'twas uncreate. 

What is it then ? The past Eternity ! 

We comprehend & future without end ; 

We feel it possible that even yon sun 

May roll for ever ; but we shrink amazed — ■ 

We stand aghast, when we reflect that Time 

Knew no commencement. — That heap age on age, 

And million upon million, without end, 

And we shall never span the void of days 

That were, and are not but in retrospect. 

The Past is an unfathomable depth, 

Beyond the span of thought ; 'tis an elapse 






HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 350 

Which, hath no mensuration, but hath been 
Tor ever and for ever. 

Change of days 
To ns is sensible ; and each revolve 
Of the recording sun conducts us on 
Further in life, and nearer to our goal. 
Not so with Time, — mysterious chronicler, 
He knoweth not mutation ; — centuries 
Are to his being as a day, and days 
As centuries. — Time past, and Time to come, 
Are always equal ; when the world began 
God had existed from eternity. 



Now look on man 
Myriads of ages hence. — Hath time elapsed ! 
Is he not standing in the self-same place 
Where once we stood ! — The same Eternity 
Hath gone before him, and is yet to come : 
~His past is not of longer span than ours, 
Though myriads of ages intervened ; 
For who can add to what has neither sum, 
Nor bound, nor source, nor estimate, nor end I 
Oh, who can compass the Almighty mind ? 
Who can unlock the secrets of the High ? 
In speculations of an altitude, 
Sublime as this, our reason stands confest 
Foolish, and insignificant, and mean. 
Who can apply the futile argument 
Of finite beings to infinity ? 
He might as well compress the universe 
Into the hollow compass of a gourd, 
Scooped out by human art ; or bid the whale 
Drink up the sea it swims in. — Can the less 
Contain the greater ? or the dark obscure 
Infold the glories of meridian day ? 
What does philosophy impart to man 
But undiscovered wonders ? — Let her soar 



360 POEMS OF 

Even to her proudest heights, — to where she caught 

The soul of Newton and of Socrates, 

She but extends the scope of wild amaze 

And admiration. All her lessons end 

In wider views of God's unfathom'd depths. 

Lo ! the unletter'd hind who never knew 

To raise his mind excursive, to the heights 

Of abstract contemplation ; as he sits 

On the green hillock by the hedgerow side, 

What time the insect swarms are murmuring, 

And marks, in silent thought, the broken clouds 

That fringe, with loveliest hues, the evening sky, 

Eeels in his soul the hand of nature rouse 

The thrill of gratitude, to him who form'd 

The goodly prospect ; he beholds the God 

Throned in the west ; and his reposing ear 

Hears sounds angelic in the fitful breeze, 

That floats through neighbouring copse or fairy brake, 

Or lingers playful on the haunted stream. 

Go with the cotter to his winter fire, 

Where o'er the moors the loud blast whistles shrill, 

And the hoarse ban-dog bays the icy moon ; 

Mark with what awe he lists the wild uproar, 

Silent, and big with thought ; and hear him bless 

The God that rides on the tempestuous clouds 

Eor his snug hearth, and all his little joys. 

Hear him compare his happier lot with his 

Who bends his way across the wintry wolds, 

A poor night-traveller, while the dismal snow 

Beats in his face, and, dubious of his path, 

He stops, and thinks, in every lengthening blast, 

He hears some village mastiff's distant howl, 

And sees, far streaming, some lone cottage liaht ; 

Then, undeceived, upturns his streaming eyes, 

And clasps his shivering hands ; or, overpower' d, 

Sinks on the frozen ground, weigh' d down with sleep, 

From which the hapless wretch shall never wake. 

Thus the poor rustic warms his heart with praise 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 361 

And glowing gratitude, — He turns to bless, 

With honest warmth, his Maker and his God. 

And shall it e'er be said, that a poor hind, 

Nursed in the lap of Ignorance, and bred, 

In want and labour, glows with nobler zeal 

To laud his Maker's attributes, while he 

Whom starry science in her cradle rock'd, 

And Castaly enchasten'd with its dews, 

Closes his eyes upon the holy word ; 

And, blind to all but arrogance and pride, 

Dares to declare his infidelity, 

And openly contemn the Lord of Hosts ! 

What is philosophy, if it impart 

Irreverence for the Deity — or teach 

A mortal man to set his judgment up 

Against his Maker's will? — The Polygar, 

Who kneels to sun or moon, compared with him 

Who thus perverts the talents he enjoys, 

Is the most bless'd of men ! — Oh ! I would walk 

A weary journey to the furthest verge 

Of the big world, to kiss that good man's hand, 

Who, in the blaze of wisdom and of art, 

Preserves a lowly mind ; and to his God, 

Eeeling the sense of his own littleness, 

Is as a child in meek simplicity ! 

What is the pomp of learning ? the parade 

Of letters and of tongues ? E'en as the mists 

Or the grey morn before the rising sun, 

That pass away and perish. 

Earthly things 
Are but the transient pageants of an hour ; 
And earthly pride is like the passing flower, 
That springs to fall, and blossoms but to die. 
'Tis as the tower erected on a cloud, 
Baseless and silly as the school-boy's dream. 
Ages and epochs that destroy our pride, 
And then record its downfal, what are they 
But the poor creatures of man's teeming brain ? 
Hath Heaven its ages ; or doth Heaven preserve 



3G2 FOEMS OF 

Its stated seras ? Doth the Omnipotent 

Hear of to-morrows or of yesterdays ? 

There is to God nor future nor a past : 

Throned in his might, all times to him are present ; 

He hath no lapse, no past, no time to come ; 

He sees before him one eternal now. 

Time moveth not ! — our being 'tis that moves; 

And we, swift gliding down life's rapid stream. 

Dream of swift ages and revolving years, 

Ordain' d to chronicle our passing days : 

So the young sailor in the gallant bark, 

Scudding before the wind, beholds the coast 

Receding from his eyes, and thinks the while, 

Struck with amaze, that he is motionless, 

And that the land is sailing. 

Such, alas ! 
Are the illusions of this proteus life ! 
All, all is false. — Through every phasis still 
} Tis shadowy and deceitful. — It assumes 
The semblances of thiugs, and specious shapes ; 
But the lost traveller might as soon rely 
On the evasive spirit of the marsh, 
Whose lantern beams, and vanishes, and flits, 
O'er bog, and rock, and pit, and hollow-way, 
As we on its appearances. 

On earth 
There is nor certainty, nor stable hope. 
As well the weary mariner, whose bark 
Is toss'd beyond Chmnerian Bosphorus, 
"Where storm and darkness hold their drear domain, 
And sunbeams never penetrate, might trust 
To expectation of serener skies, 
And linger in the very jaws of death, 
Because some peevish cloud were opening, 
Or the loud storm had bated in its rage ; 
As we look forward in this vale of tears 
To permanent delight — from some slight glimpse 
Of shadowy, unsubstantial happiness. 



HENRY KIEKE WHITE. 363 

The good man's hope is laid far, far beyond 

The sway of tempests, or the furions sweep 

Of mortal desolation.— He beholds, 

Unapprehensive, the gigantic stride 

Of rampant ruin, or the unstable waves 

Of dark vicissitude. — Even in death, 

In that dread hour, when, with a giant pang, 

Tearing the tender fibres of the heart, 

The immortal spirit struggles to be free, 

Then, even then, that hope forsakes him not, 

Eor it exists beyond the narrow verge 

Of the cold sepulchre. — The petty joys 

Of fleeting life indignantly it spurn' d, 

And rested on the bosom of its God. 

This is man's only reasonable hope ; 

And 'tis a hope which, cherish' d in the breast, 

Shall not be disappointed. — Even He, 

The Holy One — Almighty — who elanced 

The rolling world along its airy way ; 

Even he will deign to smile upon the good, 

And welcome him to these celestial seats, 

Where joy and gladness hold their changeless reign. 

Thou proud man look upon yon starry vault, 

Survey the countless gems which richly stud 

The night's imperial chariot ; — Telescopes 

Will show the myriads more, innumerous 

As the sea-sand ; — Each of those little lamps 

Is the great source of light, the central sun 

Round which some other mighty sisterhood 

Of planets travel, — Every planet stock' d 

With living beings impotent as thee. 

Now, proud man — now, where is thy greatness fled ? 

What art thou in the scale of universe ? 

Less, less than nolaing ! — Yet of thee the God 

Who built this wondrous frame of worlds is careful, 

As well as of the mendicant who begs 

The leavings of thy table. And shalt thou 



364 POEMS OF 

Lift up thy thankless spirit, and contemn 
His heavenly providence ! Deluded fool, 
Even now the thunderbolt is wing'd with death, 
Even now thou totterest on the brink of Hell. 

How insignificant is mortal man, 

Bound to the hasty pinions of an hour ! 

How poor, how trivial in the vast conceit 

Of infinite duration, boundless space ! 

God of the universe — Almighty One — 

Thou who dost walk upon the winged winds, 

Or with the storm, thy rugged charioteer, 

Swift and impetuous as the northern blast, 

Eldest from pole to pole ; — Thou who dost hold 

The forked lightnings in thine awful grasp, 

And reinest-in the earthquake, when thy wrath 

Goes down towards erring man, — I would address 

To thee my parting paean ; for of thee, 

Great beyond comprehension, who thyself 

Art time and space, sublime infinitude, 

Of thee has been my song ! — With awe I kneel 

Trembling before the footstool of thy state, 

My God, my Father ! — I will sing to thee 

A hymn of laud, a s oleum canticle, 

Ere on the cypress wreath, which overshades 

The throne of Death, I hang my mournful lyre, 

And give its wild strings to the desert gale. 

Else, son of Salem, rise, and join the strain, 

Sweep to accordant tones thy tuneful harp, 

And, leaving vain laments, arouse thy soul 

To exultation. Sing hosanna, sing, 

And halleluiah, for the Lord is great, 

And full of mercy ! He has thought of man ; 

Yea, compass'd round with countless worlds, has thought 

Of we poor worms, that batten in the dews 

Of morn, and perish ere the noonday sun. 

Sing to the Lord, ibr he is merciful ; 

He gave the Nubian lion but to live, 






HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 365 

To rage its hour and perish ; but on man 

He lavish' d immortality, and Heaven, 

The eagle falls from her aerial tower, 

And mingles with irrevocable dust ; 

But man from death springs joyful, 

Springs up to life and to eternity. 

Oh that, insensate of the favouring boon, 

The great exclusive privilege bestow 5 d 

On us unworthy trifles, men should dare 

To treat with slight regard the proffer' d heaven, 

And urge the lenient, but All- Just, to swear 

In wrath, " They shall not enter in my rest ! " 

Might I address the supplicative strain 

To thy high footstool, I would pray that thou 

Wouldst pity the deluded wanderers, 

And fold them, ere they perish, in thy flock. 

Yea, I would bid thee pity them, through him, 

Thy well-beloved, who, upon the cross, 

Bled a dread sacrifice for human sin, 

And paid, with bitter agony, the debt 

Of primitive transgression. 

Oh ! I shrink, 
My very soul doth shrink, when I reflect 
That the time hastens, when, in vengeance clothed^ 
Thou shalt come down to stamp the seal of fate 
On erring mortal man. Thy chariot wheels 
Then shall rebound to earth's remotest caves, 
And stormy Ocean from his bed shall start 
At the appalling summons. Oh ! how dread 
On the dark eye of miserable man, 
Chasing his sins in secrecy and gloom, 
Will burst the effulgence of the opening heaven ; 
When to the brazen trumpet's deafening roar, 
Thou and thy dazzling cohorts shall descend, 
Proclaiming the fulfilment of the word ! 
The dead shall start astonish'd from their sleep ! 
The sepulchres shall groan and yield their prey, 
The bellowing floods shall disembogue their charge 



36G poems cf 

Of human victims. — Erom tl ^ larthest nook 
Of the wide world shall troop the risen souls, 
.From him whose bones are bleaching in the waste 
Of polar solitudes, or him whose corpse, 
Whelm' cl in the loud Atlantic's vexed tides, 
Is washed on some Caribbean prominence, 
To the lone tenant of some secret cell 
In the Pacific's vast * * * realm, 
Where never plummet's sound was heard to part 
The wilderness of water ; they shall come 
To greet the solemn advent of the Judge. 

Thou first shalt summon the elected saints 

To their apportion' d heaven ; and thy Son, 

At thy right hand shall smile with conscious joy 

On all his past distresses, when for them 

He bore humanity's severest pangs. 

Then shalt thou seize the avenging scimitar, 

And, with a roar as loud and horrible 

As the stern earthquake's monitory voice, 

The wicked shall be driven to their abode, 

Down the unmitigable gulf, to wail 

And gnash their teeth in endless agony. 

* * * * 

Rear thou aloft thy standard. — Spirit rear 
Thy flag on high ! — Invincible, and throned 
In unparticipated might. Behold 
Earth's proudest boast, beneath thy silent sway, 
Sweep headlong to destruction, thou the while, 
Unmoved and heedless, thou dost hear the rush 
Of mighty generations, as they pass 
To the broad gulf of ruin, and dost stamp 
Thy signet on them, and they rise no more. 
Who shall contend with Time — unvanquish'd Time, 
The conqueror of conquerors, and lord 
Of desolation ? — Lo ! the shadows fly, 
The hours and days, and years and centuries, 
They fly, they fly, and nations rise and fall. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 367 

The young are old, the old are in their graves. 
Heardst thou that shout ? It rent the vaulted skies ; 
It was the voice of people, — mighty crowds, — 
Again ! 'tis hush'd — Time speaks, and all is hush'd ; 
In the vast multitude now reigns alone 
Unruffled solitude. They all are still ; 
All — yea, the whole — the incalculable mass, 
Still as the ground that clasps their cold remains. 

Rear thou aloft thy standard. — Spirit rear 

Thy flag on high; and glory in thy strength. 

But do thou know, the season yet shall come, 

When from its base thine adamantine throne 

Shall tumble ; when thine arm shall cease to strike, 

Thy voice forget its petrifying power ; 

"When saints shall shout, and Time shall be no more. 

Yea, he doth come— the mighty champion comes, 

Whose potent spear shall give thee thy death-wound, 

Shall crush the conqueror of conquerors, 

And desolate stern desolation's lord. 

Lo ! where he cometh ! the Messiah comes ! 

The King ! the Comforter ! the Christ ! — He comes 

To burst the bonds 01 death, and overt urn 

The power of Time. — Hark ! the trumpet's blast 

Rings o'er the heavens ! — They rise, the myriads rise — 

Even from their graves they spring, and burst the chains 

Of torpor. — He has ransomed them, * * 

Forgotten generations live again, 

Assume the bodily shapes ttiey own'd of old, 

Beyond the flood : — the righteous of their times 

Embrace aud weep, they weep the tears of joy. 

The sainted mother wakes, and, in her lap, 

Clasps her dear babe, the partner of her grave, 

And heritor with her of Heaven, — a flower 

Wash'd by the blood of Jesus .from the stain 

Of native guilt, even in its early bud. 

And hark ! those strains, how solemnly serene 



368 POEMS OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

They fall, as from the skies — at distance fall — 

Again more loud ; the hallelujahs swell ; 

The newly -risen catch the joyful sound ; 

They glow, they burn : and now, with one accord, 

Bursts forth sublime from every mouth the song 

Of praise to God on high, and to the Lamb 

Who bled for mortals. 

Yet there is peace for man. — Yea, there is peace, 

Even in this noisy, this unsettled scene ; 

When from the crowd, and from the city far, 

Haply he may be set (in his late walk 

O'ertaken with deep thought) beneath the bows 

Of honeysuckle, when the sun is gone, 

And with fix'd eye, and wistful, he surveys 

The solemn shadows of the heavens sail, 

And thinks the season yet shall come, when Time 

Will waft him to repose, to deep repose, 

Far from the unquietness of life — from noise 

And tumult far — beyond the flying clouds, 

Eeyond the stars, and all this passing scene, 

Where change shall cease, and Time shall be no more. 



sea 



THE CHRISTIAN. 

3 Btbuu 'Bozm. 



This was the work which the author had most at heart. His riper 
judgment would probably have perceived that the subject was ill 
chosen, What is said so well in the Censura Literaria of all 
scriptural subjects for narrative poetry, applies peculiarly to this. 
"Anything taken from it leaves the story imperfect; anything 
added to it disgusts, and almost shocks us as impious. As Omar 
said of the Alexandrian Library, we may say of such writings, if 
they contain only what is in the scriptures they are superfluous; 
if what is not in them they are false." — It may be added, that the 
mixture of mythology makes truth itself appear fabulous. 

There is great power in the execution of this fragment. — In editing 
these remains, I have, with that decorum which it is to be wished 
all editors would observe, abstained from informing the reader 
what he is to admire and what he is not ; but I cannot refrain 
from saying, that the two last stanzas greatly affected me, when 
I discovered them written on the leaf of a different book, and 
apparently long after the first canto ; and greatly shall I be mis- 
taken if they do not affect the reader also. 



BB 



THE CHKISTIAD. 



BOOK I. 



I sixg the Cross ! — Ye white robed angel choirs, 
Who know the chords of harmony to sweep ; 

Ye who o'er holy David's varying wires, 

Were wont of old yonr hovering watch to keep, 
Oh, now descend ! and with yonr harpings deep, 

Pouring sublime the full symphonious stream 
Of music, — such as soothes the saint's last sleep, 

Awake my slumbering spirit from its dream, 
And teach me how to exalt the high mysterious theme. 

ii. 

Mourn ! Salem, mourn ! low lies thine humbled state, 
Thy glittering fanes are levell'd with the ground ! 

Fallen is thy pride ! — Thine halls are desolate ! 

Where erst was heard the timbrel's sprightly sound, 
And frolic pleasures tripp'd the nightly round, 

There breeds the wild fox lonely, — and aghast 
Stands the mute pilgrim at the void profound, 

Unbroke by noise, save when the hurrying blast 
Sighs, like a spirit, deep along the cheerless waste. 

in. 

It is for this, proud Solyma ! thy towers 
Lie crumbling in the dust; for this forlorn 

Thy genius wails along thy desert bowers, 
While stern destruction laughs, as if in scorn, 
That thou didst dare insult God's eldest- born; 



POEMS OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 371 

And, with most bitter persecuting ire, 

Pursued his footsteps till the last day-dawn 
Rose on his fortunes— and thou saw'st the fire 
That came to light the world in one great flash expire. 

IV. 

Oh ! for a pencil dipt in living light, 

To paint the agonies that Jesus bore ! 
Oh ! for the long lost harp of Jesse's might, 

To hymn the Saviour's praise from shore to shore ; 

While seraph hosts the lofty psean pour, 
And heaven enraptur'd lists the loud acclaim ! 

May a frail mortal dare the theme explore ? 
May he to human ears his weak song frame ? 
Oh ! may he dare to sing Messiah's glorious name ? 



Spirits of pity ! mild Crusaders come ! 

Buoyant on clouds around your minstrel float ; 
And give him eloquence who else were dumb, 

And raise to feeling and to fire his note ! 

And thou Urania ! who dost still devote 
Thy nights and days to God's eternal shrine, 

Whose mild eyes 'lumined what Isaiah wrote, 
Throw o'er thy bard that solemn stole of thine, 
And clothe him for the fight with energy divine. 

VI. 

When from the temple's lofty summit prone, 

Satan o'ercome, fell down; and 'throned there, 
The Son of God confest, in splendour shone : 
Swift as the glancing sunbeam cuts the air, 
Mad with defeat, and yelling his despair, 

* * * * 

Eled the stern king of Hell — and with the glare 
Of gliding meteors, ominous and red, 
Shot athwart the clouds that gather' d round his head 

SB 2 



372 poems op 

VII. 

Right o'er the Euxine, and that gulph which late 

The rude Massagetse adored — he bent 
His northering course, — while round, in dusky state, 

The assembling fiends their summon' d troops augment 

Clothed in dark mists, upon their way they went, 
While as they pass'd to regions more severe, 

The Lapland sorcerer swell' d, with loud lament, 
The solitary gale, and, filled with fear, 
The howling dogs bespoke unholy spirits near. 

VIII. 

Where the North Pole, in moody solitude, 

Spreads her huge tracks and frozen wastes around ; 

There ice-rocks piled aloft, in order rude, 
Eorm a gigantic hall ; where never sound 
Startled dull Silence' ear, save when profound, 

The smoke-frost mutter' d : there drear Cold for aye 
'Thrones him, — and fixed on his primaeval mound, 

Ruin, the giant, sits ; while stern Dismay 
Stalks like some woe-struck man along the desert way. 

IX. 

In that drear spot, grim Desolation's lair, 
No sweet remain of life encheers the sight: 

The dancing heart's blood in an instant there 

Would freeze to marble. — Mingling day and night, 
(Sweet interchange which makes our labours light,) 

Are there unknown ; while in the summer skies 
The sun rolls ceaseless round his heavenly height, 

Nor ever sets till from the scene he flies, 
And leaves the long bleak night of half the year to rise. 

x. 

'Twas there yet shuddering from the burning lake, 

Satan had fix'd their next consistory ; 
When parting last he fondly hoped to shake 

Messiah's constancy, — And thus to free 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 373 

The powers of darkness from the dread decree 
Of bondage, brought by him, and circumvent 

The unerring ways of him whose eye can see 
The womb of Time, and in its embryo pent, 
Discern the colours clear of every dark event. 

XI. 

Here the stern monarch stayed his rapid flight, 

And his thick hosts, as with a jetty pall, 
Hovering obscured the north star's peaceful light, 

Waiting on wing their haughty chieftain's call. 

He, meanwhile, downward, with a sullen fall, 
Dropt on the echoing ice. Instant the sound 

Of their broad vans was hush'd, and o'er the hall, 
Vast and obscure, the gloomy cohorts bound, 
Till, wedged in ranks, the seat of Satan they surround. 

XII. 

High on a solium of the solid wave, 

Prankt with rude shapes by the fantastic frost, 
He stood in silence ; — now keen thoughts engrave 

Dark figures on his front ; and tempest tost, 

He fears to say that every hope is lost. 
Meanwhile the multitude as death are mute : 

So ere the tempest on Molacca's coast, 
Sweet Quiet, gently touching her soft lute, 
Sings to the whispering waves the prelude to dispute. 

XIII. 

At length collected, o'er the dark Divan, 
The arch fiend glanced, as by the Boreal blaze 

Their downcast brows were seen, — and thus began 
His fierce harangue : — " Spirits ! our better days 
Are now elapsed ; Moloch and Belial's praise 

Shall sound no more in groves by myriads trod. 

Lo 1 the light breaks ! — The astonished nations gaze! 

Eor us is lifted high the avenging rod ! 
Tor, spirits, this is He— this is the Son of God ! 



374 POEMS OF 

XIV. 

"What then! — shall Satan's spirit crouch to fear? 
Shall he who shook the pillars of God's reign, 
Drop from his unnerved ami the hostile spear ! 
Madness ! The very thought would make me fain 
To tear the spanglets from yon gaudy plain, 
And hurl them at their Maker ! — Eix'd as fate 

I am his Foe ! — Yea, though his pride should deign 
To soothe mine ire with half his regal state, 
Still would I burn with fixt unalterable hate. 

xv. 

* ( Now hear the issue of my curst emprize, 
When from our last synod I took flight, 
Buoy'd with false hopes, in some deep-laid disguise, 
To tempt this vaunted Holy One to write 
His own self-condemnation; — in the plight 
Of aged man in the lone wilderness, 

Gathering a few stray sticks, I met his sight; 
And leaning on my staff seem'd much to guess 
What cause could mortal bring to that forlorn recess. 

XVI. 

" Then thus in homely guise I featly framed 

My lowly speech — f Good Sir, what leads this way 
Your wandering steps ? must hapless chance be blamed 
That you so far from haunt of mortals stray ? 
Here have I dwelt for many a lingering day, 
Is or trace of man have seen.— But how ! methought 

Thou wert the youth on whom God's holy ray 
I saw descend in Jordan, when John taught 
That he to fallen man the saving promise brought.' 

XVII. 

" ' I am that man, 5 said Jesus ; " 1 1 am he. 

But truce to questions — Canst thou point my feet 
To some low hut, if haply such there be 
In this wild labyrinth, where I may meet 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 37 ii 

With homely greeting, and may sit and eat : 
For forty days I have tarried fasting here, 

Hid in the dark glens of this lone retreat, 
And now I hunger ; and my fainting ear 
Longs mnch to greet the sound of fountains gushing near.' 

XVIII. 

" Then thus I answer' d wily : — c If, indeed, 

Son of our God thou be'st, what need to seek 
Eor food from men ? — Lo ! on these flint stones feed, 
Bid them be bread ! Open thy lips and speak, 
And living rills from yon parch' d rock will break/ 
Instant as I had spoke, his piercing eye 

Eix'd on my face ; the blood forsook my cheek, 
I could not bear his gaze ; my mask slipped by ; 
I would have shunn'd his look, but had not power to fly. 



" Then he rebuked me with the holy word — 
Accursed sounds ! but now my native pride 
Returned, and by no foolish qualm deterr'd, 
I bore him from the mountain's woody side, 
Up to the summit, where extending wide 
Kingdoms and cities, palaces and fanes, 

Bright sparkling in the sunbeams, were descried, 
And in gay dance, amid luxuriant plains, 
Tripp' d to the jocund reed the emasculated swains. 

xx. 

" ' Behold,' I cried, ' these glories ! scenes divine ! 
Thou whose sad prime in pining want decays, 
And these, rapture ! these shall all be thine, 
If thou wilt give to me, not God, the praise. 
Hath he not given to indigence thy days ? 
Is not thy portion peril here and pain ? 

Oh ! leave his temples, shun his wounding ways ! 
Seize the tiara ! these mean weeds disdain, 
Kneel, kneel, thou man of woe, and peace and splendour 
gain. 5 



376 POEMS OF 



XXI. 



" e Is it not written/ sternly he replied, 

( Tempt not the Lord thy God? 5 Erowning he spake, 
And instant sounds, as of the ocean tide, 

Rose, and the whirlwind from its prison brake, 
And caught me up aloft, till in one flake, 
The sidelong volley met my swift career, 

And smote me earthward. — Jove himself might quake 
At such a fall ; my sinews cracked, and near, 
Obscure, and dizzy sounds seemed ringing in mine ear. 

XXII. 

" Senseless and stunn'd I lay ; till casting round 
My half unconscious gaze, I saw the foe 
Borne on a car of roses to the ground, 
By volant angels ; and as sailing slow 
He sunk, the hoary battlement below, 
While on the tall spire slept the slant sunbeam, 
Sweet on the enamour d zephyr was the flow 
Of heavenly instruments. Such strains oft seem, 
On starlight hill, to soothe the Syrian shepherd's dream. 



"I saw blaspheming. Hate renew'd my strength; 
I smote the ether with my iron wing, 

And left the accursed scene. — Arrived at length 
In these drear halls, to ye, my peers ! I bring 
The tidings of defeat. Hell's haughty king 

Thrice vanquish' d, baffled, smitten, and dismay'd! 

shame ! Is this the hero who could fling 
Defiance at his Maker, while array 5 d, 

High o'er the walls of light rebellion's banners play'd ! 

XX1T. 

" Yet shall not Heaven's bland minions triumph long ; 
Hell yet shall have revenge. — glorious sight, 
Prophetic visions on my fancy throng, 

1 see wild agony's lean finger write 



HEKRY KIKKE WHITE. 377 

Sad figures on his forehead ! — Keenly bright 
Revenge's flambeau burns ! Now in his eyes 

Stand the hot tears, — immantled in the night, 
Lo ! he retires to mourn ! — I hear his cries, — 
He faints — he falls — and lo ! — 'tis true, ye powers, he dies." 

XXV. 

Thus spake the chieftain, — and as if he view'd 
The scene he pictured, with his foot advanced, 

And chest inflated, motionless he stood, 
While under his uplifted shield he glanced, 
With straining eye-ball fix'd, like one entranced, 

On viewless air ; — thither the dark platoon 

Gazed wondering, nothing seen, save when there danced 

The northern flash, or fiend late fled from noon, 
Darken' d the disk of the descending moon. 

XXVI. 

Silence crept stilly through the ranks. — The breeze 
Spake most distinctly. As the sailor stands, 

When all the midnight gasping from the seas 
Break boding sobs, and to his sight expands 
High on the shrouds the spirit that commands 

The ocean-farer's life ; so stiff — so sere 

Stood each dark power ; — while through their nu- - 
merous bands 

Beat not one heart, and mingling hope and fear 
Now told them all was lost, now bade revenge appear. 

XXVII. 

One there was there, whose loud defying tongue 
Nor hope nor fear had silenced, but the swell 

Of over-boiling malice. Utterance long 
His passion mock'd, and long he strove to tell 
His labouring ire ; still syllable none fell 

Prom his pale quivering lip, but died away 
For very fury ; from each hollow cell 

Half sprang his eyes, that cast a flamy ray, 
And ******* 



378 pozms of 



XXVIII. 



" This comes," at length burst from the furious chief, 
" This comes of distant counsels ! Here behold 
The fruits of wily cunning ! the relief 
Which coward policy would fain unfold, 
To soothe the powers that warr'd with Heaven of old! 
O wise ! potent ! sagacious snare ! 

And lo ! our prince — the mighty and the bold, 
There stands he, spell struck, gaping at the air, 
While Heaven subverts his reign, and plants her standard 
there." 

XXIX. 

Here, as, recovered, Satan fixed his eye 

Full on the speaker ; dark it was and stern ; 

He wrapt his black vest round him gloomily, 

And stood like one whom weightiest thoughts concern. 
Him Moloch marked, and strove again to turn 

His soul to rage. " Behold, behold," he cried, 

" The lord of Hell, who bade these legions spurn 

Almighty rule — behold, he lays aside 
The spear of just revenge, and shrinks, by man defied." 

XXX. 

Thus ended Moloch, and his [burning] tongue 
Hung quivering, as if [mad] to quench its heat 

In slaughter. So, his native wilds among, 
The famish' d tiger pants, when near his seat, 
Press'd on the sands, he marks the traveller's feet. 

Instant low murmurs rose, and many a sword 

Had from its scabbard sprung ; but toward the seat 

Of the arch-fiend all turn'd with one accord, 
As loud he thus harangued the sanguinary horde. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 379 

Ye powers of Hell, I am no coward. I proved this of 
old ; who led your forces against the armies of Jehovah ? Who 
coped with Ithuriel, and the thunders of the Almighty? Who, 
when stumied and confused ye lay on the burning lake, who 
first awoke, and collected your scattered powers ? Lastly, 
who led you across the unfathomable abyss to this delightful 
world, and established that reign here which now totters to 
its base. How, therefore, dares yon treacherous fiend to 
cast a stain on Satan's bravery .? he who preys only on the 
defenceless — who sucks the blood of infants, and delights 
orsly in acts of ignoble cruelty and unequal contention. Away 
with the boaster who never joins in action, but, like a cor- 
morant, hovers over the field, to feed upon the wounded, and 
overwhelm the dying. True bravery is as remote from rash- 
ness as from hesitation; let us counsel coolly, but let us 
execute our counselled purposes determinately. In power 
we have learnt, by that experiment which lost us heaven, 
that we are inferior to the Thunder-bearer. In subtlety — 
in subtlety alone we are his equals. Open war is impossible. 



" Thus we shall pierce our Conqueror, through the race 
Which as himself he loves ; thus if we fall, 

We fall not with the anguish, the disgrace 
Of falling unrevenged. The stirring call 
Of vengeance rings within me ! Warriors all, 

The word is Vengeance, aud the spur Despair. 
Away with coward wiles ! — Death's coal-black pall 

Be now our standard ! — Be our torch, the glare 
Of cities fired ! our fifes, the shrieks that fill the air I " 

Him answering rose Mecashpim, who of old, 

Ear in the silence of Chaldea's groves, 
Was worshipped, God of Eire, with .charms untold 

And mystery. His wandering spirit loves, 

Now vainly searching for the flame it roves, 
And sits and mourns like some white robed sire, 

Where stood his temple, and where fragrant cloves 
And cinnamon upheap'd the sacred pyre, 
And nightly magi watch' d the everlasting fire. 



3S0 POEMS OF HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 

He waved his robe of flame, he cross' d his breast, 
And sighing — his papyrus scarf survey' d, 

Woven with dark characters ; then thus address' d 
Ihe troubled counsel. 

* * * # 



Thus far have I pursued my solemn theme 
With self-rewarding toil ; — thus far have sung 

Of godlike deeds, far loftier than beseem 
The lyre, which I in early days have strung : 
And now my spirits faint, and I have hung 

The shell, that solaced me in saddest hour, 

On the dark cypress ! and the strings which rung 

"With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o'er, 
Or when the breeze comes by moan and are heard no more. 

And must the harp of Judah sleep again, 

Shall I no more re-animate the lay ! 
Oh ! thou who visitest the sons of men, 

Thou who dost listen when the humble pray, 

One little space prolong my mournful day ! 
One little lapse suspend thy last decree ! 

I am a youthful traveller in the way, 
And this slight boon would consecrate to thee, 
Ere I with death shake hands, and smile that I am free. 
* * * * 



3S1 



PROSE COMPOSITIONS. 



REMARKS ON THE ENGLISH POETS. 

IMITATIONS. 

The sublimity and unaffected beauty of the sacred writings 
are in no instance more conspicuous than in the following 
verses of the 18th Psalm : — 

" He bowed the heavens also and came down : and darkness was 
under his feet. 

" And he rode upon a cherub and did fly : yea he did fly upon the 
wiLgs of the wind." 

None of our better versions have been able to preserve 
the original graces of these verses. That wretched one of 
Thomas Sternhold, however (which, to the disgrace and 
manifest detriment of religious worship, is generally used), 
has, in this solitary instance, and then perhaps by accident, 
given us the true spirit of the Psalmist, and has surpassed 
not only Merrick, but even the classic Buchanan * This 
version is as follows : — 



* That the reader may judge for himself, Buchanan's translation 
is subjoined: — 

" Utque suum dominum terras demittat in crbem 
Leniter inclinat jussum fastigia ccelum; 
Succedunt pedibus fuscae caligiuis umbra?; 
Hie vehens curru Tolucri, cui flammeus ales 
Lora tenens levibus ventorum adremigat alis 
Se circum fulvo nebularum involvit amictu, 
Preetenditque cavis piceas in nubibus undas." 

This is somewhat too harsh and prosaic, and there is an unplea- 
sant cacophony in the terminations of the fifth and sixth lines. 



382 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

" The Lord descended from above, 
And bowed the heavens high, 
And underneath his feet he cast 
# The darkness of the sky. 

" On cherubs and on cherubims 
Full royally he rode, 
And on the wings of mighty winds 
Came flying all abroad." 

Dryden honoured these verses with very high commend- 
ation, and, in the following lines of his Annus Mirabilis, 
has apparently imitated them, in preference to the original. 

" The duke less numerous, but in courage more, 
On wings of all the winds to combat flies." 

And in his Ceyx and Alcyone, from Ovid, he has — 

" And now sublime she rides upon the wind." 

which is probably imitated, as well as most of the following, 
not from Stemhold, but the original. Thus Pope, 

" Not God alone in the still calm we find, 
He mounts the storm and rides upon the wind " 

And Addison — 

" Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm." 

The unfortunate Chatterton has — 

"And rides upon the pinions of the wind." 

And Gray — 

" With arms sublime that float upon the air." 

Eew poets of eminence have less incurred the charge of 
plagiarism than Milton; yet many instances might be adduced 
of similarity of idea and language with the Scripture, which 
are certainly more than coincidences ; and some of these I 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 3 (S3 

shall, in a future number, present to your readers. Thus 
the present passage in the Psalmist was in all probability 
in his mind when he wrote — 

"And with mighty wings outspread. 



Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss." 

Par. Lost, 1. 20, b. i. 
The third verse of the 104th Psalm, 

" He maketh the ciouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings 
of the wind," — 

is evidently taken from the before-mentioned verses in the 
18th Psalm, on which it is perhaps an improvement. It 
has also been imitated by two of our first poets, Shakespeare 
and Thomson. The former in Homeo and Juliet — 

" Bestrides the lazy paced clouds, 
And sails upon the bosom of the air." 

The latter in Winter, 1. 199— 

" 'Till Nature s king who oft 



Amid tempestuous darkness dwells alone, 
And on the wings of the careering winds 
Walks dreadfully serene." 

As these imitations have not before, I believe, been noticed, 
they cannot fail to interest the lovers of polite letters ; and 
they are such as at least will amuse your readers in general. 
If the sacred writings were attentively perused, we should 
find innumerable passages from which our best modern 
poets have drawn their most admired ideas; and the 
enumerations of these instances would perhaps attract the 
attention of many persons to those volumes, which they 
now perhaps think to contain everything tedious and dis- 
gusting, but which, on the contrary, they would find replete 
with interest, beauty, and true sublimity. 



384 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 



STEENHOLD AND HOPKINS. 
Me. Editor, 

In your " Mirror " for July, a Mr. William Toone has 
offered a few observations on a paper of mine, in a preceding 
number, containing remarks on the versions and imitations ol 
the ninth and tenth verses of the 18th Psalm, to which I think 
it necessary to offer a few words by way of reply ; as they 
not only put an erroneous construction on certain passages Oi 
that paper, but are otherwise open to material objection. 

The object of Mr. Toone, in some parts of his observations, 
appears to have been to refute something which he fancied I 
had advanced, tending to establish the general merit of Stern- 
hold and Hopkins' translation of the Psalms : but he might 
have saved himself this unnecessary trouble, as I have 
decidedly condemned it as mere doggrel, still preserved in 
our churches to the detriment of religion. And the version 
of the passage in question is adduced as a brilliant, though 
probably accidental, exception to the general character of the 
work. What necessity, therefore, your correspondent could 
see for " hoping that I should think with him, that the 
sooner the old version of the JPsahns was consigned to 
oblivion, the better it toould be for rational devotion" I 
am perfectly at a loss to imagine. 

This concluding sentence of Mr. Toone's paper, which I 
consider as introduced merely by way of rounding the period, 
and making a graceful exit, needs no further animadversion. 
I shall therefore proceed to examine the objections of the 
"worthy clergyman of the Church of England," to these 
verses cited by your correspondent, by which he hopes to 
prove, that Dryden, Knox, and the numerous other eminent 
men who have expressed their admiration thereof, to be little 
better than idiots. The first is this : 

" Cherubim is the plural for Cherub; but our versioner, 
by adding an s to it 3 has rendered them both plurals." By 
adding an s to what ? If the pronoun it refer to cherubim, 
as according to the construction of the sentence it really does, 
the whole objection is nonsense. But the worthy gentleman, 



HENRY KIRKE "WHITE. 385 

no doubt, meant to say, that Sternhold had rendered them 
both plurals, by the addition of an s to cherub. Even in this 
sense, however, I conceive the charge to be easily obviated ; 
for, though cherubim is doubtless usually considered as the 
plural of cherub, yet the two words are frequently so used 
in the Old Testament as to prove, that they were often 
applied to separate ranks of beings. One of these, which 
I shall cite, will dispel all doubt on the subject. 

"And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, 
each ten cubits high." — 1 Kings, v. 23, chap. vii. 

The other objection turns upon a word with which it is 
not necessary for me to interfere ; for I did not quote these 
verses as instances of the merit of Sternhold, or his version, 
I only asserted, that the lines which I then copied — viz., 
" The Lord descended from above," &c. 

were truly noble and sublime. Whether, therefore, Stern- 
hold wrote all tlie winds (as asserted by your correspondent, 
in order to furnish room for objection) or mighty winds, is 
of no import. But if this really be a subsequent alteration, 
I think, at least, there is no improvement; for when we 
conceive the winds as assembling from all quarters, at the 
omnipotent command of the Deity, and bearing him with 
their united forces from the heavens, we have a more sublime 
image, than when we see him as flying merely on mighty 
winds, or as driving his team (or troop) of angels on a 
strong tempest's rapid wing, with most amazing swiftness, 
as elegantly represented by Brady and Tate* 

* How any man, enjoying the use of his senses, could prefer the 
contemptible version of Brady and Tate of this verse to Sternhold, 
is to me inexplicable. The epithets which are introduced would 
have disgraced a school-boy, and the majestic imagery of the 
original is sacrificed to make room for tinsel and fustian. 
" The chariot of the king of kings, 
Which active troops of angels drew, 
On a strong tempest's rapid wings, 
With most amazing swiftness flew, " 
C C 



336 PEOSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

I differ frcni your correspondent's opinion, that these 
verses, so far from possessing sublimity, attract the reader 
merely by their rumbling sound. And here it may not be 
amiss to observe, that the true sublime dees not consist of 
high-sounding words, or pompous magnificence ; on the con- 
trary, it most frequently appears clad in native dignity and 
simplicity, without art and without ornament. 

The most elegant critic of antiquity, Longinus, in his 
treatise on the sublime, adduces the following passage from 
the book of Genesis, as possessing that quality in an eminent 
degree — 

l( God said let there be light, and there was light : — Let the 
earth he, and the earth was* — " 

Erom what I have advanced on this subject, I would not 
have it inferred, that I conceive the version of Stemhold 
and Hopkins, generally speaking, to be superior to that of 
Brady and Tate ; for, on the contrary, in almost every 
instance, except that above-mentioned, the latter possesses 
an indubitable right to pre-eminence. Our language, how- 
ever, cannot yet boast one version possessing the true spirit 
of the original ; some are beneath contempt, and the best has 
scarcely attained mediocrity. Ycur correspondent has quoted 
some verses from Tate, in triumph, as comparatively ex- 
cellent ; but, in my opinion, they are also instances of our 
geueral failure in sacred poetry : they abound in those 
ambitiosa ornamenta which do well to please women and 
children, but which disgust the man of taste. 

To the imitations already noticed of this passage, permit 
me to add the following — 

" But various Iris Jove's cominauds to bear, 
Speeds on the wings of winds through liquid ah.'' 

Pope's Iliad, b. ii. 

" Miguel cruzando os pelagos do vento." 

Carlos Reduzido, canto i. 
By Pedro de Azevedo Tojal, an ancient Portuguese poet of 
some merit. 

* The critic apparently quoted from memory, for we may search 
jn vain for the latter wart of this sentence. 



HENRY KIKKE WHITE. 387 

KEMAKKS ON THE ENGLISH POETS. 

WARTOX. 

The poems of Thomas Warton are replete with a sublimity 
and richness of imagery, which seldom fail to enchant : every 
line presents new beauties of idea, aided by all the magic of 
animated diction. Erom the inexhaustible stores of figurative 
language, majesty, and sublimity, which the ancient English 
poets afford, he has culled some of the richest and the sweetest 
flowers. But, unfortunately, in thus making use of the beau- 
ties of other writers, he has been too unsparing; for the 
greater number of his ideas, and nervous epithets, cannot, 
strictly speaking, be called his own ; therefore, however we 
may be charmed by the grandeur of his images, or the felicity 
of his expresssion, we must still bear in our recollection, that 
we cannot with justice bestow upon him the highest eulogium 
of genius — that of originality. 

It has, with much justice, been observed, that Pope and 
his imitators have introduced a species of refinement into our 
language, which has banished that nerve and pathos for which 
Milton had rendered it eminent. Harmonious modulations, 
and unvarying exactness of measure, totally precluding sub- 
limity and fire, have reduced our fashionable poetry to mere 
sing-song. But Thomas Warton, whose taste was unvitiated 
by the frivolities of the day, immediately saw the intrinsic 
worth of what the world then slighted. He saw that the 
ancient poets contained a fund of strength, and beauty of 
imagery as well as diction, which in the hands of genius would 
shine forth with redoubled lustre. Entirely rejecting, there- 
fore, modern niceties, he extracted the honied sweets from 
these beautiful, though neglected flowers. Every grace of 
sentiment, every poetical term, which a false taste had rendered 
obsolete, was by him revived and made to grace his own ideas ; 
and though many will condemn him as guilty of plagiarism, 
yet few will be able to withhold the tribute of their praise. 

The peculiar forte of Warton seems to have been in the 
c c 2 



338 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

sombre descriptive. The wild airy flights of a Spenser, the 
"chivalrous feats of barons bold/' or the " cloister' d soli- 
tude/ 5 were the favourites of his mind. Of this his bent, he 
informs us in the following lines : — 

" Through Pope's soft song though all the graces breathe, 
And happiest art adorns his attic page, 
Yet does ray mind with sweeter transport glow, 
As at the root of mossy trunk reclin'd, 
In magic Spenser's wildly warbled song 
I see deserted Una wander wide 
Through wasteful solitudes and lurid heaths, 
Weary, forlorn ; than where the fated* fair 
Upon the bosom bright of silver Thames, 
Launches in all the lustre of brocade, 
Amid the splendours of the laughing sun ; 
The gay description palls upon the sense 
And coldly strikes the mind with feeble bliss." 

Pleasures of Melancholy. 

Warton's mind was formed for the grand and the sublime. 
Were his imitations less verbal and less numerous, I should 
be led to imagine, that the peculiar beauties of his favourite 
authors had sunk so impressively into his mind, that he had 
unwittingly appropriated them as his own; but they are in 
general such as to preclude the idea. 

To the metrical, and other intrinsic ornaments of style, he 
appears to have paid due attention. If we meet with an 
uncouth expression, we immediately perceive that it is pecu- 
liarly appropriate, and that no other term could have been 
made use of with so happy an effect. His poems abound 
with alliterative lines. Indeed, this figure seems to have been 
his favourite; and he studiously seeks every opportunity to 
introduce it : however, it must be acknowledged, that his 
" daisy-dappled dale," &c. occur too frequently. 

The poem on which Warton's fame (as a poet) principally 
rests, is the " Pleasures of Melancholy," and (notwithstanding 
the perpetual recurrence of ideas which are borrowed from 

* Belinda. Vide Pope's " Bape of the Lock." 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 3S9 

other poets) there are few pieces which I have perused with 
more exquisite gratification. The gloomy tints with which 
he overcasts his descriptions ; his highly figurative language ; 
and, above all, the antique air which the poem wears, convey 
the most sublime ideas to the mind. 

Of the other pieces of this poet, some are excellent, and 
they all rise above mediocrity. In his sonnets he has suc- 
ceeded wonderfully ; that written at Winslade, and the one to 
the river Lodon, are peculiarly beautiful, and that to Mr. 
Gray is most elegantly turned. The " Ode on the approach 
of Summer/' is replete with genius and poetic fire : and even 
over the Birthday odes, which he wrote as poet laureat, his 
genius has cast energy and beauty. His humorous pieces 
and satires abound in wit : and, in short, taking him alto- 
gether, he is an ornament to our country and our language, 
and it is to be regretted, that the profusion with which he has 
made use of the beauties of other poets, should have given 
room for censure. 

I should have closed my short, and I fear jejune essay on 
Warton, but that I wished to hint to your truly elegant and 
acute Stamford correspondent, Octavius Gilchrist (whose 
future remarks on Warton's imitations I await with consi- 
derable impatience), that the passage in the '* Pleasures of 
Melancholy" — 

" or ghostly shape, 

At distance seen, invites, with beckoning hand, 
Thy lonesome steps" 

which he supposes to be taken from the following in "Comus," 

" Of calling shapes, and beck'ning shadows dire, 
And airy tongues that syllable men's names," 

is more probably taken from the commencement of Pope's 
elegy on an unfortunate lady — 

" What beck'ning ghost, along the moonlight shade 
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?" 

The original idea was possibly taken from " Comus" by Pope, 
from whom Warton, to all appearance again borrowed it. 



300 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

Were the similarity of the passage in Gray to that in 
"Warton less striking and verbal, I should be inclined to think 
it only a remarkable coincidence; for Gray's biographer 
informs us, that he commenced his elegy in 1742 and that it 
was completed in 1744, being the year which he particularly 
devoted to the Muses, though he did not "put the finishing 
stroke to it" until 1750. The "Pleasures of Melancholy" 
were published in 4to, in 1747. Therefore Gray might take 
his third stanza from Warton ; but it is rather extraordinary 
that the third stanza of a poem should betaken from another 
published/re years after that poem was begun, and three after 
it was understood to be completed ; one circumstance, how- 
ever, seems to render the supposition of its being a plagiarism 
somewhat more probable, which is, that the stanza in ques- 
tion is not essential to the connexion of the preceding and 
antecedent verses ; therefore it might have been added by Gray, 
when he put the "finishing stroke" to his piece in 1750. 



CURSORY REMARKS ON TRAGEDY. 

The pleasure which is derived from the representation of an 
affecting tragedy has often been the subject of inquiry among 
philosophical critics, as a singular phenomenon. That the 
mind should receive gratification from the excitement of those 
passions which are in themselves painful, is really an extraor- 
dinary paradox, and it is the more inexplicable since, when 
the same means are employed to rouse the more pleasing affec- 
tions, no adequate effect is produced. 

In order to solve this problem, many ingenious hypotheses 
have been invented. The Abbe DuBos tells us that the mind 
has such a natural antipathy to a state of listiessness and lan- 
guor, as to render the transition from it to a state of exertion, 
even though by rousing passions in themselves painful, as in 
the instance of a tragedy, a positive pleasure. Monsieur Eon- 
tenelle has given us a more satisfactory account. He tells us 
that pleasure and pain, two sentiments so different in them- 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 391 

selves, do not differ so much in their cause ; — that pleasure 
carried too far, becomes pain, and pain, a little moderated, 
becomes pleasure. Hence that the pleasure we derive from 
tragedy is a pleasing* sorrow, a modulated pain. David 
Hume, who has also written upon this subject, unites the two 
systems, with this addition, that the painful emotions excited 
by the representation of melancholy scenes are further tem- 
pered, and the pleasure is proportionably heightened, by the 
eloquence displayed in the relation, the art shown in collect- 
ing the pathetic circumstances, and the judgment evinced in 
their happy disposition. 

But even now J do not conceive the difficulty to be satisfac- 
torily done away. Admitting the postulatum which the Abbe 
Du Bos assumes, that languor is so disagreeable to the mind 
as to render its removal positive pleasure, to be true; yet, 
when we recollect, as Mr. Hume has before observed, that 
were the same objects of distress which give us pleasure in 
tragedy set before our eyes in reality, though they would 
effectually remove listlessness, they would excite the most 
unfeigned uneasiness, we shall hesitate in applying this solu- 
tion in its full extent to the present subject. M. Eontenelle's 
reasoning is much more conclusive ; yet I think he errs egregi- 
ously in his premises, if he means to imply that any modulation 
of pain is pleasing, because, in whatever degree it may be, it 
is still pain, and remote from either ease or positive pleasure : 
and if by moderated pain he means an uneasy sensation abated, 
though not totally banished, he is no less mistaken in the 
application of them to the subject before us. Pleasure may 
very well be conceived to be painful when carried to excess, 
because it there becomes exertion, and is inconvenient. We 
may also form some idea of a pleasure arising from moderated 
pain, or the transition from the disagreeable to the less disa- 
greeable ; but this cannot in any wise be applied to the gratifi- 
cation we derive from a tragedy, for there no superior degree 
of pain is left for an inferior. As to Mr. Hume's addition of 
the pleasure we derive from the art of the poet, for the intro • 
auction of which he has written his whole dissertation on 
tragedy, it merits little consideration. The self-recoliection 



392 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

necessary to render tins art a source of gratification mnst 
weaken the illusion, and whatever weakens the illusion, 
diminishes the effect. 

In these systems it is taken for granted that all those 
passions are excited which are represented in the drama. 
This I conceive to have been the primary cause of error, for 
to me it seems very probable that the only passion or affection 
which is excited is that of sympathy, which partakes of the 
pleasing nature of pity and compassion, and includes in it 
so much as is pleasing of hope and apprehension, joy and 
grief. 

The pleasure we derive from the afflicticms of a friend is 
proverbial — every person has felt, and wondered why he felt, 
something soothing in the participation of the sorrows of 
those dear to his heart ; and he might, with as much reason, 
have questioned why he was delighted with the melancholy 
scenes of tragedy. Both pleasures are equally singular ; they 
both arise from the same source. Both originate in sym- 
pathy. 

It would seem natural that an accidental spectator of a 
cause in a court of justice, with which he is perfectly unac- 
quainted, would remain an uninterested auditor of what was 
going forward. Experience tells us, however, the exact con- 
trary. He immediately, even before he is well acquainted 
with the merits of the case, espouses one side of the question, 
to which he uniformly adheres, participates in all its advan- 
tages, and sympathizes in its success. There is no denying 
that the interest this man takes in the business is a source of 
pleasure to him ; but we cannot suppose one of the parties 
in the cause, though his interest must be infinitely more lively, 
to feel an equal pleasure, because the painful passions are in 
him really roused, while in the other sympathy alone is 
excited, which is in itself pleasing. It is pretty much the 
same with the spectator of a tragedy. And if the sympathy 
is the more pleasing, it is because the actions are so much the 
more calculated to entrap the attention, and the object so 
much the more worthy. The pleasure is heightened also in 
both instances by a kind of intuitive recollection, which never 



HENRY KIP.KE WHITE. 393 

forsakes the spectator ; that no bad consequences will result 
to him from the action he is surveying. This recollection is 
the more predominant in the spectator of a tragedy, as it is 
impossible in any case totally to banish from his memory that 
the scenes are fictitious and illusive. In real life we always 
advert to futurity, and endeavour to draw inferences of the 
probable consequences; but the moment we take off our 
minds from what is passing on the stage to reasonings there- 
upon the illusion is dispelled, and it again recurs that it is 
all fiction. 

If we compare the degrees of pleasure we derive from the 
perusal of a novel and the representation of a tragedy, we 
shall observe a wonderful disparity. In both we feel an 
interest, in both sympathy is excited. But in the one, things 
are merely related to us as having passed, which it is not 
attempted to persuade us ever did in reality happen, and 
from which, therefore, we never can deceive ourselves into the 
idea that any consequences whatever will result ; in the other, 
on the contrary, the actions themselves pass before our eyes ; 
we are not tempted to ask ourselves whether they did ever 
happen ; we see them happen, we are the witnesses of them, 
and were it not for the meliorating circumstances before- 
mentioned, the sympathy would become so powerful as to be 
in the highest degree painful. 

In tragedy, therefore, everything which can strengthen the 
illusion should be introduced, for there are a thousand draw- 
backs on the effect which it is impossible to remove, and 
which have always so great a force, as to put it out of the 
power of the poet to excite sympathy in a too painful degree. 
Everything that is improbable, everything which is out of the 
common course of nature should, for this reason, be avoided, 
as nothing will so forcibly remind the spectator of the unreal- 
ness of the illusion. 

It is a mistaken idea that we sympathize sooner with the 
distresses of kings and illustrious personages than with those 
of common life. Men are, in fact, more inclined to com- 
miserate the sufferings of their equals than of those whom 
they cannot but regard, rather with awe than pity, as superior 



394 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

beings, and to take an interest in incidents which might have 
happened to themselves, sooner than in those remote from 
their own rank and habits. It is for this reason that iEschylus 
censures Euripides for introducing his kings in rags, as if 
they were more to be compassionated than other men. 

YIo&tov jikv tovq f3acri\evov7ciQ paKiafXTricrxiov, 'lv tXteivoi 
ToTc, av6p(jJ7roig (palvovr tlvai. 

Some will, perhaps, imagine that it is in the power of the 
poet to excite our sympathy in too powerful a degree, because, 
at the representation of certain scenes, the spectators are 
frequently affected so as to make them shriek out with terror. 
But this is not sympathy; it is horror, it is disgust, and is 
only witnessed when some act is committed on the stage so 
cruel and bloody, as to make it impossible to contemplate it 
even in idea without horror. 

" Nee pueros coram populo Medea trucidet, 
Ant buinana pa'iam eoquat exta uefarius Atreus." 

Hor. Ars Poet.,\. 185. 

It is for this reason, also, that many tine German dramas 
cannot be brought on the English stage, such as the Robbers 
of Schiller, and the Adelaide of Wulfingen, by Kotzebue; they 
are too horrible to be read without violent emotions, and 
Horace will tell you what an immense difference there is in 
point of effect between a relation and a representation. 

" Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurern, 
Quara quae sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus, et quae 
Ipsi sibi tradit spectator." 

Ars Poet., 1. 180. 

I shall conclude these desultory remarks, strung together 
at random, without order or connexion, by observing what 
little foundation there is for the general outcry in the literary 
world against the prevalence of German dramas on our stage. 
Did they not possess uncommon merit, they would not meet 
with such general approbation. Eashion has but a partial 
influence, but they have drawn tears from 'an audience in a 
barn as well as in a theatre royal ; they have been welcomed 



HENRY KIRKE WRITE. 395 

with plaudits in every little market town in the three king- 
doms as well as in the metropolis. Nature speaks but one 
language ; she is alike intelligible to the peasant and the man 
of letters, the tradesman and the man of fashion. While 
the Muse of Germany shall continue to produce such plays 
as the Stranger and Lover's Vows,* who will not rejoice that 
translation is able to naturalize her efforts in our language ? 



MELANCHOLY HOUES.— No. I. 



1 There is a mood 



(I sing not to the vacant and the young), 

There is a kindly mood of Melancholy, 

That wings the soul and points her to the skies." 

Dyer. 

Philosophers have divested themselves of their natural 
apathy, and poets have risen above themselves, in descanting 
on the pleasures of Melancholy. There is no mind so gross, 
no understanding so uncultivated, as to be incapable, at certain 
moments, and amid certain combinations, of feeling that sub- 
lime influence upon the spirits, which steals the soul from the 
petty anxieties of the world, 

"And fits it to hold converse with the gods." 

I must confess, if such there be who never felt the divine 
abstraction, I envy them not their insensibility. Eor my own 
part, it is from the indulgence of this soothing power that I 
derive the most exquisite of gratifications. At the calm hour 
of moonlight, amid all the sublime serenity, the dead stillness 
of the night, or when the howling storm rages in the heavens, 
the rain pelts on my roof, and the winds whistle through the 
crannies of my apartment, I feel the divine mood of melan- 

* I speak of these plays only as adapted to our stage by the 
elegant pens of Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Inchbald. 



396 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OP 

choly upon me ; I imagine myself placed upon an eminence, 
above the crowds who pant below in the dusty tracks of 
wealth and honour. The black catalogue of crimes and of 
vice, the sad tissue of wretchedness and woe, passes in review 
before me, and I look down upon man with an eye of pity and 
commiseration. Though the scenes which I survey be mournful, 
and the ideas they excite equally sombre, though the tears 
gush as I contemplate them, and my heart feels heavy with 
the sorrowful emotions they inspire, yet are they not unac- 
companied with sensations of the purest and most ecstatic 
bliss. 

It is to the spectator alone that melancholy is forbidding ; 
in herself she is soft and interesting, and capable of affording 
pure and unalloyed delight. Ask the lover why he muses by 
the side of the purling brook, or plunges into the deep gloom 
of the forest. Ask the unfortunate why he seeks the still 
shades of solitude, or the man who feels the pangs of dis- 
appointed ambition, why he retires into the silent walks of 
seclusion, and he will tell you that he derives a pleasure 
therefrom which nothing else can impart. It is the delight 
of melancholy ; but the melancholy of these beings is as far 
removed from that of the philosopher as are the narrow and 
contracted complaints of selfishness from the mournful regrets 
ot expansive philanthropy ; as are the desponding intervals of 
insanity from the occasional depressions of benevolent sensi- 
bility. 

The man who has attained that calm equanimity which 
qualifies him to look down upon the petty evils of life with 
indifference, who can so far conquer the weakness of nature 
as to consider the sufferings of the individual of little moment, 
when put in competition with the welfare of the community, 
is alone the true philosopher. His melancholy is not excited 
by the retrospect of his own misfortunes ; it has its rise from 
the contemplation of the miseries incident to life and the evils 
which obtrude themselves upon society and interrupt the 
harmony of nature. It would be arrogating too much merit 
to myself to assert that I have a just claim to the title of a 
philosopher, as it is here defined ; or to say that the specu- 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 397 

lations of my melancholy hours are equally disinterested ; be 
this as it may, I have determined to present my solitary 
effusions to the public : they will at least have the merit of 
novelty to recommend them, and may possibly, in some mea- 
sure, be instrumental in the melioration of the human heart 
or the correction of false prepossessions. This is the height 
of my ambition : this once attained, and my end will be fully 
accomplished. One thing I can safely promise, though far 
from being the coinages of a heart at ease, they will contain 
neither the querulous captiousness of misfortune nor the 
bitter taunts of misanthropy. Society is a chain of which I am 
merely a link ; all men are my associates in error, and though 
some may have gone farther in the ways of guilt than myself, 
yet it is not in me to sit in judgment upon them : it is mine 
to treat taem rather in pity than in anger, to lament their 
crimes, and to weep over their sufferings. As these papers 
will be the amusement of those hours of relaxation when the 
mind recedes from the vexations of business, and sinks into 
itself for a moment of solitary ease, rather than the efforts of 
literary leisure, the reader will not expect to find in them 
unusual elegance of language or studied propriety of style. 
In the short and necessary intervals of cessation from the 
anxieties of an irksome employment, one finds little time to be 
solicitous about expression. If, therefore, the fervour of a 
glowing mind express itself in too warm and luxuriant a 
manner for the cold ear of dull propriety, let the fastidious 
critic find a selfish pleasure in descrying it. To criticism 
melancholy is indifferent. If learning cannot be better 
employed than in declaiming against the defects while it is 
insensible to the beauties of a performance, well may we 
exclaim with the poet : — 

Q eufiwrjr ayvoia. wg dfjLOjfjLog rig tl 
Otclv ol gv ob 'c%oig ovrwg g'ovk ayvou. 



308 PEOSE COMPOSITIONS OP 



MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. II. 

"But (wel-a-day) who loves the Muses now? 
Or helpes the climber of the sacred Iryll ? 
None leane to them, but strive to disalow 
All heavenly dewes the goddesses distill." 

Wm. Browne's Shepheard's Pipe. Eg. 5. 

It is a melancholy reflection, and a reflection which often 
sinks heavily on my soul, that the sons of Genius generally 
seem predestined to encounter the rudest storms of adversity, 
to struggle, unnoticed, with poverty and misfortune. The 
annals of the world present us with many corroborations of 
this remark ; and, alas ! who can tell how many unhappy 
beings, who might have shone with distinguished lustre 
among the stars which illumine our hemisphere, may have 
sunk unknown beneath the pressure of untoward circum- 
stances ; who knows how many may have shrunk, with all 
the exquisite sensibility of genius, from the rude and riotous 
discord of the world into the peaceful slumbers of death. 
Among the number of those whose talents might have elevated 
them to the first rank of eminence, but who have been over- 
whelmed with the accumulated ills of poverty and misfortune, 
I do not hesitate to rank a young man whom I once accounted 
it my greatest happiness to be able to call my friend. 

Chahles "Waneley was the only son of an humble village 
rector, who just lived to give him a liberal education, and 
then left him, unprovided for and unprotected, to struggle 
through the world as well as he could. With a heart glowing 
with the enthusiasm of poetry and romance, with a sensibility 
the most exquisite, and with an indignant pride which swelled 
in his veins, and told him he was a man, my friend found 
himself cast upon the wide world, at the age of sixteen, an 
adventurer, without fortune and without connexion. As his 
independent spirit could not brook the idea of being a burthen 
to those whom his father had taught him to consider only as 
allied by blood, and not by affection, he looked about him for 



HENRY EIRKE WHITE. 399 

a situation, which could ensure to him, by his own exertions, 
an honourable competence. It was not long before such a 
situation offered, and Charles precipitately articled himself to 
an attorney, without giving himself time to consult his own 
inclinations, or the disposition of his master. The transition 
from Sophocles and Euripides, Theocritus and Ovid, to Einche 
and Wood, Coke and Wynne, was striking and difficult ; but 
Charles applied himself with his wonted ardour to his new 
study, as considering it not only his interest but his duty so 
to do. It was not long, however, before he discovered that he 
disliked the law, that he disliked his situation, and that he 
despised his master. The fact was, my friend had many 
mortifications to endure which his haughty soul could ill 
brook. The attorney to whom he was articled was one of 
those narrow-minded beings who consider wealth as alone 
entitled to respect. He had discovered that his clerk was 
very poor and very destitute of friends, and thence he very 
naturally concluded, that he might insult him with impunity. 
It appears, however, that he was mistaken in his calculations. 
I one night remarked that my friend was unusually thought- 
ful. I ventured to ask him whether he had met with any- 
thing particular to ruffle his spirits. He looked at me for 
some moments significantly, then, as if roused to fury by 
the recollection — " I have," said he, vehemently, " I have, I 
have ! He has insulted me grossly, and I will bear it- no 
longer." He now walked up and down the room with visible 
emotion. Presently he sat down. He seemed more com- 
posed. "My friend/' said he, "I have endured much from 
this man. I conceived it my duty to forbear, but I have 
forborne until forbearance is blameable, and, by the Almighty, 
I will never again endure what I have endured this day ! 
But not only this man; everyone thinks he may treat me 
with contumely, because I am poor and friendless. Eut I am 
a man, and will no longer tamely submit to be the sport 
of fools and the football of caprice. In this spot of earth, 
though it gave me birth, I can never taste of ease. Here I 
must be miserable. The principal end of man is to arrive at 
happiness. Here I can never attain it ; and here, therefore, 



400 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

I will no longer remain. My obligations to the rascal who 
calls himself my master are cancelled by his abuse of the 
authority I rashly placed in his hands. I have no relations 
to bind me to this particular place." The tears started in 
his eyes as he spoke. "I have no tender ties to bid me stay, 
and why do I stay? The world is all before me. My 
inclination leads me to travel ; I will pursue that inclination ; 
and, perhaps, in a strange land I may find that repose which 
is denied to me in the place of my birth. My finances, it is 
true, are ill able to support the expenses of travelling : but 
what then — Goldsmith, my friend !" with rising enthusiasm, 
" Goldsmith traversed Europe on foot, and I am as hardy as 
Goldsmith. Yes, I will go, and, perhaps, ere long, I may sit 
me down on some towering mountain, and exclaim with him, 
while a hundred realms lie in perspective before me, 

" Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine." 

It was in vain I entreated him to reflect maturely ere he 
took so bold a step ; he was deaf to my importunities, and the 
next morning I received a letter informing me of his depar- 
ture. He was observed about sun-rise, sitting on the stile 
at the top of an eminence, which commanded a prospect of 
the surrounding country, pensively looking towards the 
village. I could divine his emotions on thus casting, pro- 
bably, a last look on his native place. The neat white 
parsonage house, with the honeysuckle mantling on its wall, 
I knew would receive his last glance ; and the image of his 
father would present itself to his mind, with a melancholy 
pleasure, as he was thus hastening, a solitary individual, to 
plunge himself into the crowds of the world, deprived of 
that fostering hand which would otherwise have been his 
support and guide. 

Prom this period Charles "Wanely was never heard of at 
L — — ; and as his few relations cared little about him, in a 
short time it was almost forgotten that such a being had ever 
been in existence. 

About five years had elapsed from this period, when my 
occasions led me to the Continent. I will confess, I was not 



HENKY KIRKE WHITE. 401 

without a romantic hope that I might again meet with my 
lost friend ; and that often, with that idea, I scrutinized the 
features of the passengers.. One fine moonlight night, as I 
was strolling down the grand Italian Strada di Toledo, at 
Naples, I observed a crowd assembled round a man, who, 
with impassioned gestures, seemed to be vehemently declaiming 
to the multitude. It was one of the Improvisatori, who recite 
extempore verses in the streets of Naples, for what money 
they can collect from the hearers. I stopped to listen to the 
man's metrical romance, and had remained in the attitude of 
attention some time, when, happening to turn round, I 
beheld a person very shabbily dressed, stedfastly gazing at me. 
The moon shone full in his face. I thought his features 
were familiar to me. He was pale and emaciated, and his 
countenance bore marks of the deepest dejection. Yet, amidst 
all these changes, I thought I recognised Charles Wanely. 
I stood stupified with surprise. My senses nearly failed me. 
On recovering myself, I looked again, but he had left the spot 
the moment he found himself observed. I darted through 
the crowd, and ran every way which I thought he could have 
gone, but it was all to no purpose. Nobody knew him. 
Nobody had even seen such a person. The two following 
days I renewed my inquiries, and at last discovered the 
lodgings where a man of his description had resided. But 
he had left Naples the morning after his form had struck .my 
eyes. I found he gained a subsistence by drawing rude 
figures in chalks, and vending them among the peasantry. I 
could no longer doubt it was my friend, and immediately per- 
ceived that his haughty spirit could not bear to be recognised, 
in such degrading circumstances, by one who had known him. 
in better days. Lamenting the misguided notions which had 
thus again thrown him from me, I left Naples, now grown 
hateful to my sight, and embarked for England. It is now 
nearly twenty-two years since this rencounter, during which 
period he has not been heard of: and there can be little 
doubt that this unfortunate young man has found in some 
remote corner of the continent an obscure and an unlamented 
grave. 

D D 



402 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

Thus, those talents which were formed to do honour to 
unman nature, and to the country which gave them birth, 
have been nipped in the bud by the frosts of poverty and 
scorn, and their unhappy possessor lies in an unknown and 
nameless tomb, who might, under happier circumstances, 
have risen to the highest pinnacle of ambition and renown. 



MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. III. 

u Few know that elegance of soul-refm'd 
Whose soft sensation feels a quicker joy 
From melancholy's scenes, than the dull pride 
Of tasteless splendour and magnificence 
Can e'er afford." 

JTarton's Melancholy, 

In one of my midnight rambles down the side of the Trent, 
the river which waters the place of my nativity, as I was 
musing on the various evils which darken the life of man, and 
which have their rise in the malevolence and ill-nature of his 
fellows, the sound of a flute from an adjoining copse attracted 
my attention. The tune it played was mournful yet soothing. 
It was suited to the solemnity of the hour. As the distant 
notes came wafted at intervals on my ear, now with gradual 
swell, then dying away on the silence of the night, I felt the 
tide of indignation subside within me, and give place to the 
solemn calm of repose. I listened for some time in breathless 
ravishment. The strain ceased, yet the sounds still vibrated 
on my heart, and the visions of bliss which they excited still 
glowed on my imagination. I was then standing in one of my 
favourite retreats. It was a little alcove, overshadowed with 
willows, and a mossy seat at the back invited to rest. I laid 
myself listlessly on the bank. The Trent murmured softly at 
my feet, and the willows sighed as they waved over my head. 
It was the holy moment of repose, and I soon sunk into a deep 
sleep. The operations of fancy in a slumber, induced o^ a 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 403 

combination of circumstances so powerful and uncommon, could 
not fail to be wild and romantic in the extreme. Methought 
I found myself in an extensive area, filled with an immense 
concourse of people. At one end was a throne of adamant, 
on which sat a female, in whose aspect I immediately recog- 
nised a divinity. She was clad in a garb of azure ; on her 
forehead she bore a sun, whose splendour the eyes of many 
were unable to bear, and whose rays illumined the whole space, 
and penetrated into the deepest recesses of darkness. The 
aspect of the goddess at a distance was forbidding, but on a 
nearer approach it was mild and engaging. Her eyes were 
blue and piercing, and there was a fascination in her smile 
which charmed as if by enchantment. The air of intelligence 
which beamed in her look made the beholder shrink into 
him self with the consciousness of inferiority ; yet the affability 
of her deportment, and the simplicity and gentleness of her 
manners soon reassured him, while the bewitching softness 
which she could at times assume, won his permanent esteem. 
On inquiry of a bystander who it was that sat on the throne, 
and what was the occasion of so uncommon an assembly, he 
informed me that it was the goddess of wisdom, who had at 
last succeeded in regaining the dominion of the earth, which 
folly had so long usurped. That she sat there in her judicial 
capacity, in order to try the merits of many who were sup- 
posed to be the secret emissaries of Eolly. In this way I 
understood Envy and Malevolence had been sentenced to per- 
petual banishment, though several of their adherents yet 
remained among men, whose minds were too gross to be irra- 
diated with the light of wisdom. One trial I understood was 
just ended, and another supposed delinquent was about to be 
put to the bar. With much curiosity I hurried forwards to 
survey the figure which now approached. She was habited 
in black, and veiled to the waist. Her pace was solemn and 
majestic, yet in every movement was a winning gracefulness. 
As she approached to the bar I got a nearer view of her, when 
what was my astonishment to recognise in her the person of 
my favourite goddess, Melancholy. Amazed that she whom 
I had always looked upon as the sister and companion of 

DD 2 



404 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OP 

Wisdom should be brought to trial as an emissary and an 
adherent of Eolly, I waited in mute impatience for the accu- 
sation which could be framed against her. On looking towards 
the centre of the area, I was much surprised to see a bustling 
little Cit of my acquaintance, who, by his hemming and clear- 
ing, I concluded was going to make the charge. As he was 
a self-important little fellow, full of consequence and business, 
and totally incapable of all the finer emotions of the soul, 1 
could not conceive what ground of complaint lie could have 
against Melancholy, who, I was persuaded, would never have 
designed to take up her residence for a moment in Iris breast. 
When I recollected, however, that he had some sparks of 
ambition in his composition, and that he was an envious, carp- 
ing little mortal, who had formed the design of shouldering 
himself into notice by decrying the defects of others, while 
he was insensible to his own, my amazement and my appre- 
hensions vanished as I perceived he only wanted to make a 
display of his own talents, in doing which I did not fear his 
making himself sufficiently ridiculous. 

After a good deal of irrelevant circumlocution, he boldly 
began the accusation of Melancholy. I shall not dwell upon 
many absurd and many invidious parts of his speed), nor upon 
the many blunders in the misapplication of words, such as " de- 
duce" for " detract" and others of a similar nature, which my 
poor friend committed in the course of his harangue, but shall 
only dwell upon the material parts of the charge. 

He represented the prisoner as the offspring of Idleness and 
Discontent, who was at all times a sulky, sullen, and "emi- 
nently useless" member of the community, and not unfre- 
quently a very dangerous one. He declared it to be his 
opinion, that in case she were to be suffered to prevail, mankind 
would soon become " too idle to go" and would all lie down 
and perish through indolence, or through forgetting that sus- 
tenance was necessary for the preservation of existence : and 
concluded with painting the horrors which would attend such 
a depopulation of the earth, in such colours as made many 
weak minds regard the goddess with fear and abhorrence. 

Having concluded, the accused was called upon for her 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

defence. She immediately, with a graceful gesture, lifted up 
the veil which concealed her face, and discovered a counte- 
nance so soft, so lovely, and so sweetly expressive, as to strike 
the beholders with involuntary admiration, and which, at one 
glance, overturned all the flimsy sophistry of my poor friend 
the citizen ; and when the silver tones of her voice were heard, 
the murmurs which until then had continually arisen from the 
crowd, were hushed to a dead still, and the whole multitude 
stood transfixed in breathless attention. As near as I can 
recollect, these were the words in which she addressed her- 
self to the throne of wisdom. 

" I shall not deign to give a direct answer to the various 
insinuations which have been thrown out against one hy my 
accuser. Let it suffice that I declare my true history, in 
opposition to that which has been so artfully fabricated to my 
disadvantage. In that early age of the world when mankind 
followed the peaceful avocations of a pastoral life only, and 
contentment and harmony reigned in every vale, I was not 
known among men ; but when, in process of time, Ambition 
and Yice, with their attendant evils, were sent down as a 
scourge to the human race, I made my appearance. I am the 
offspring of Misfortune and Virtue, and was sent by Heaven 
to teach my parents how to support their afflictions with mag- 
nanimity. As I grew up, I became the intimate friend of the 
wisest among men. I was the bosom friend of Plato" and 
other illustrious sages of antiquity, and was then often known 
by the name of Philosophy, though, in present times, when 
that title is usurped by mere makers of experiments and 
inventors of blacking cakes, I am only known by the appella- 
tion of Melancholy. So far from being a discontented dispo- 
sition, my very essence is pious and resigned contentment. I 
teach my votaries to support every vicissitude of fortune with 
calmness and fortitude. It is mine to subdue the stormy pro- 
pensities of passion and vice, to foster and encourage the 
principles of benevolence and philanthropy, and to cherish and 
bring to perfection the seeds of virtue and wisdom. Though 
feared and hated by those who, like my accuser, are ignorant 
o£ my nature, I am courted and cherished by all the truly 



406 PHOSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

wise, the good, and the great ; the poet woos me as the god- i 
dess of inspiration ; the trne philosopher acknowledges himself 
indebted to me for his most expansive views of human natnre ; 
the good man owes to me that hatred of the wrong and love 
of the right, and that disdain fpr the consequences which 
may result from the performance of his duties, which keeps 
him good ; and the religious flies to me for the only clear and 
unencumbered view of the attributes and perfections of the 
Deity. So far from being idle, my mind is ever on the wing 
in the regions of fancy, or that true philosophy which opens 
the book of human nature, and raises the soul above the evils 
incident to life. If I am useless, in the same degree were 
Plato and Socrates, Locke and Paley useless ; it is true that 
my immediate influence is confined, but its effects are dissemi- 
nated by means of literature over every age and nation, and 
mankind, in every generation and in every clime, may look 
to me as their remote illuminator, the original spring of the 
principal intellectual benefits they possess. But as there is 
no good without its attendant evil, so I have an elder sister, 
called Frenzy, for whom I have often been mistaken, who 
sometimes follows close on my steps, and to her I owe much 
of the obloquy which is attached to my name, though the 
puerile accusation which has just been brought against me, 
turns on points which apply more exclusively to myself." 

She ceased, and a dead pause ensued. The multitude seemed 
struck with the fascination of her utterance and gesture, and 
the sounds of her voice still seemed to vibrate on every ear. 
The attention of the assembly, however, was soon recalled to 
the accuser, and their indignation at his baseness rose to such 
a height as to threaten general tumult, when the goddess of 
wisdom arose, and waving her hand for silence, beckoned the 
prisoner to her, placed her on her right hand, and with a sweet 
smile acknowledged her for her old companion and friend. She 
then turned to the accuser, with a frown of severity so terrible, 
that I involuntarily started with terror from my poor misguided 
friend, and with the violence of the start I awoke, and instead 
of the throne of the goddess of wisdom, and the vast assembly 
of people, beheld the first rays of the morning peeping over 



HENRY KTRKE WHITE. 407 

the eastern cloud, and instead of the loud murmurs of the 
incensed multitude, heard nothing but the soft gurgling of the 
river at my feet, and the rustling wing of the skylark, who was 
now beginning his first matin song. 

W. 



MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. IV. 

^KOTrrjuaixsvog tvpuricov ovdapwQ av a\\(og obrog CicnrpaZ,aiizvoQ. 

Isocr. 

The world has often heard of fortune-hunters, legacy-hunters, 
popularity-hunters, and hunters of various descriptions — one 
diversity, however, of this very extensive species has hitherto 
eluded public animadversion ; I allude to the class of friend- 
hunters; men who make it the business of their lives to acquire 
friends, in the hope, through their influence, to arrive at some 
desirable point of ambitious eminence. Of all the mortifica- 
tions and anxieties to which mankind voluntarily subject 
themselves, from the expectation of future benefit, there are, 
perhaps, none more galling, none more insupportable, than 
those attendant on friend-making. Show a man that you 
court his society, and it is a signal for him to treat you with 
neglect and contumely. Humour his passions, and he despises 
you as a sycophant. Pay implicit deference to his opinions, 
and he laughs at you for your folly. In all he views you 
with contempt, as the creature of his will, as the slave of 
his caprice. I remember I once solicited the acquaintance 
and coveted the friendship of one man, and, thank God, I 
can yet say (and I hope on my death-bed I shall be able to 
say the same), of only one man. 

Germanicus was a character of considerable eminence in 
the literary world. He had the reputation not only of an 
enlightened understanding and refined taste but of openness 
of heart and goodness of disposition. His name always 
carried with it that weight and authority which are due to 
learning and genius in every situation. His manners were 



408 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

polished and his conversation elegant. In short, he possessed 
every qualification which could render him an enviable 
addition to the circle every man's friends. With such a 
character, as I was then very young, I could not fail to feel 
an ambition of becoming acquainted, when the opportunity 
offered, and in a short time we were upon terms of familiarity. 
To ripen this familiarity into friendship, as far as the most 
awkward diffidence would permit, was my strenuous endea- 
vour. If his opinions contradicted mine, I immediately, 
without reasoning on the subject, conceded the point to 
him, as a matter of course that he must be right, and by 
consequence that I must be wrong. Did he utter a witticism, 
I was sure to laugh ; and if he looked grave, though no- 
body could tell why, it was mine to groan. By thus con- 
forming myself to his humour, I flattered myself I was 
making some progress in his good graces, but I was soon 
undeceived. A man seldom cares much for that which cost 
him no pains to procure. Whether Germanicus found me 
a troublesome visitor, or whether he was really displeased 
with something I had unwittingly said or done, certain it is, 
that when I met him one day, in company with persons of 
apparent figure, he had lost all recollection of my features. 
I called upon him, but Germanicus was not at home. Again 
and again I gave a hesitating knock at the great man's door — 
all was to no purpose. He was still not at home. The sly 
meaning, however, which was couched in the sneer of the 
servant the last time, that, half ashamed of my errand, I 
made my inquiries at his house, convinced me of what I 
ought to have known before — that Germanicus was at home 
to all the world save me. I believe, with all my seeming 
humility, I am a confounded proud fellow at bottom ; my rage 
at this discovery, therefore, may be better conceived than 
described. Ten thousand curses did I imprecate on the 
foolish vanity which led me to solicit the friendship of my 
superior, and again and again did I vow down eternal 
vengeance on my head, if I ever more condescended thus to 
court the acquaintance of man. To this resolution I believe 
I shall ever adhere. If I am destined to make any progress 



HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 409 

in the world, it will be by my own individual exertions. As 
I elbow my way through, the crowded vale of life, I will never, 
in any emergency, call on my selfish neighbour for assistance. 
If my strength give way beneath the pressure of calamity, 
I shall sink without his whine of hypocritical condolence, 
and if I do sink, let him kick me into a ditch and go about 
his business. I asked not his assistance while living — it will 
be of no service to me when dead. 

Believe me, reader, whoever thou mayest be, there are few 
among mortals whose friendship, when acquired, will repay 
thee for the meanness of solicitation. If a man voluntarily 
holds out his hand to thee, take it with caution. If thou 
find him honest, be not backward to receive his proffered 
assistance, and be anxious, when occasion shall require, to 
yield to him thine own. A real friend is the most valuable 
blessing a man can possess, and, mark me, it is by far the 
most rare. It is a black swan. But, whatever thou mayest 
do, solicit not friendship. If thou art young, and would make 
thy way in the world, bind thyself a seven years' apprentice- 
ship to a city tallow-chandler, and thou mayest in time come 
to be lord mayor. Many people have made their fortunes at 
a tailor's board. Perriwig makers have been known to buy 
their country seats, and bellows-menders have started their 
curricles ; but seldom, very seldom, has the man who placed 
his dependence on the friendship of his fellow men arrived at 
even the shadow of the honour to which, through that 
medium, he aspired. Nay, even if thou shouldst find a friend 
ready to lend thee a helping hand, the moment, by his assist- 
ance, thou hast gained some little eminence, he will be the 
first to hurl thee down to thy primitive, and now, perhaps, 
irremediable obscurity. 

Yet I see no more reason for complaint on the ground of 
the fallacy of human friendship, than I do for any other 
ordinance of nature, which may appear to run counter to 
our happiness. Man is naturally a selhsh creature, and it is 
only by the aid of philosophy that he can so far conquer the 
defects of his being as to be capable of disinterested friend- 
ship. WJio, then, can expect to find that benign disposition 



410 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

which manifests itself in acts of disinterested benevolence 
and spontaneous affection, a common visitor? Who can 
preach philosophy to the mob ?* 

The recluse, who does not easily assimilate with the herd 
of mankind, and whose manners with difficulty bend to the 
peculiarities of others, is not likely to have many real friends. 
His enjoyments, therefore, must be solitary, lone, and melan- 
choly. His only friend is himself. As he sits immersed in 
reverie by his midnight fire, and hears without the wild gusts 
of wind fitfully careering over the plain, he listens sadly 
attentive ; and as the varied intonations of the howling blast 
articulate to his enthusiastic ear, he converses with the spirits 
of the departed, while, between each dreary pause of the storm, 
he holds solitary communion with himself. Such is the social 
intercourse of the recluse; yet he frequently feels the soft 
consolations of friendship. A heart formed for the gentler 
emotions of the soul, often feels as strong an interest for 
what are called brutes, as most bipeds affect to feel for each 
other. Montaigne had his cat : I have read of a man whose 
only friend was a large spider ; and Trenck, in his dungeon, 
would sooner have lost his right hand, than the poor little 
mouse, which, grown confident with indulgence, used to 
beguile the tedious hours of imprisonment with its gambols. 
For my own part, I believe my dog, who, at this moment, 
seated on his hinder legs, is wistfully surveying me, as if 
he was conscious of all that is passing in my mind : — my 
dog, I say, is as sincere, and, whatever the world may say, 
nearly as dear a friend as any I possess ; and, when I shall 
receive that summons which may not now be far distant, he 
will whine a funeral requiem over my grave, more piteously 
than all the hired mourners of Christendom. Well, well, 
poor Bob has had a kind master in me, and, for my own part, 

* By the word mob here, the author does not mean to include 
merely the lower classes. In the present acceptation, it takes in 
a great part of the mob of quality: men who are either too ignorant, 
or too much taken up with base and grovelling pursuits, to have 
room for any of the more amiable affections. 



HEXRY KIUKE WHITE. 411 

1 verily believe there are few things on this earth I shall leave 
with more regret than this faithful companion of the happy 
hours of my infancy. 

W. 



MELANCHOLY HOUES.— No. V. 

" Un sonnet sans defaut vavt seul nn long poeme, 
Mais en vain mille auteurs y pensent arriver; 
A peine * * * * 

* * peut-on admirer deux ou trois entre mille." 

Boileau. 

There is no species of poetry which is better adapted to 
the taste of a melancholy man than the sonnet. While its 
brevity precludes the possibility of its becoming tiresome, and 
its full and expected close accords well with his dejected and 
perhaps somewhat languid tone of mind, its elegiac delicacy 
and querimonious plaintiveness come in pleasing consonance 
with his feelings. 

This elegant little poem has met with a peculiar fate in this 
country : half a century ago it was regarded as utterly repug- 
nant to the nature of our language, while at present it is the 
popular vehicle of the most admired sentiments of our best 
living poets. Tins remarkable mntation in the opinions of 
our countrymen may, however, be accounted for on plain and 
common principles. The earlier English sonnetteers confined 
themselves in general too strictly to the Italian model, as well 
in the disposition of the rhymes as in the cast of the ideas. 
A sonnet with them was only another word for some meta- 
physical conceit, or clumsy antithesis, contained in fourteen 
harsh lines, full of obscure inversions and ill-managed ex- 
pletives. They bound themselves down to a pattern which 
was in itself faulty, and they met with the common fate of 
servile imitators in retaining all the defects of their original, 
while they suffered the beauties to escape in the process. 
Their sonnets are like copies of a bad picture : however 
accurately copied, they are still bad. Our contemporaries, 



412 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

on the contrary, have given scope to their genins in the 
sonnet without restraint, sometimes even growing licentious in 
their liberty, setting at defiance those rules which form its 
distinguishing peculiarity, and, under the name of sonnet, 
soaring or falling into ode or elegy. Their compositions, of 
course, are impressed with all those excellences which would 
nave marked their respective productions in any similar walk 
of poetry. 

It has never been disputed that the sonnet first arrived at 
celebrity in the Italian ; a language which, as it abounds in a 
musical similarity of terminations, is more eminently qualified 
to give ease and elegance to the legitimate sonnet, restricted 
as it is to stated and frequently -recurring rhymes of the same 
class. As to the inventors of this little structure of verse, 
they are involved in impenetrable obscurity. Some authors 
have ascribed it singly to Guitone D'Arezzo, an Italian poet 
of the thirteenth century, but they have no sort of authority 
to adduce in support of their assertions. Arguing upon pro- 
babilities, with some slight coincidental corroborations, I 
should be inclined to maintain that its origin may be referred 
to an earlier period ; that it may be looked for amongst the 
Provencals, who left scarcely any combination of metrical 
sounds unattempted; and who, delighting as they did in sound 
and jingle, might very possibly strike out this harmonious 
stanza of fourteen lines. Be this as it may, Dante and Petrarch 
were the first poets who rendered it popular, and to Dante and 
Petrarch therefore we must resort for its required rules. 

In an ingenious paper of Dr. Drake's "Literary Hours," a 
book which I have read again and again with undiminished 
pleasure, the merits of the various English writers in this 
delicate mode of composition are appreciated with much 
justice and discrimination. His veneration for Milton, how- 
ever, has, if I may venture to oppose my judgment to his, 
carried him too far in praise of his sonnets. Those to the 
Nightingale and to Mr. Lawrence are, I think, alone entitled 
to the praise of mediocrity, and, if my memory fail me not, 
my opinion is sanctioned by the testimony of our late illus- 
trious biographer of the poets. 



HEXRY KIPwKE WHITE. 413 

The sonnets of Drummond are characterized as exquisite. 
It is somewhat strange, if this description be just, that they 
should so long have sunk into utter oblivion, to be revived 
only by a species of black-letter manta^ wlrich prevailed during 
the latter half of the eighteenth century, and of which some 
vestiges yet remain ; the more especially as Dr. Johnson, to 
whom they could scarcely be unknown, tells us, that " The 
fabric of the sonnet has never succeeded in our language." 
Eor my own part, I can say nothing of them, I have long 
sought a copy of Drummond' s works, and I have sought it in 
vain; but from specimens which I have casually met with, 
in quotations, I am forcibly inclined to favour the idea, that, 
as they possess natural and pathetic sentiments, clothed in 
tolerably harmonious language, they are entitled to the praise 
which has been so liberally bestowed on them. 

Sir Philip Sidney's " Astrophel and Stella" consists of a num- 
ber of sonnets, which have been unaccountably passed over by 
Dr. Drake and all our other critics who have written on this 
subject. Many of them are eminently beautiful. The works 
of this neglected poet may occupy a future number of my 
lucubrations. 

Excepting these two poets, I believe there is scarcely a 
writer who has arrived at any degree of excellence in the 
sonnet, until of late years, when our vernacular bards have 
raised it to a degree of eminence and dignity, among the 
various kinds of poetical composition, which seems almost 
incompatible with its very circumscribed limits. 

Passing over the classical compositions of "Warton, which 
are formed more on the model of the Greek epigram, or 
epitaph, than the Italian sonnet, Mr. Bowles and Charlotte 
Smith are the first modern writers who have met with dis- 
tinguished success in the sonnet. Those of the former, in 
particular, are standards of excellence in this department. To 
much natural and accurate description, they unite a strain of 
the most exquisitely tender and delicate sentiment ; and with 
a nervous strength of diction and a wild freedom of versi- 
fication, they combine an euphonious melody and consonant 
cadence unequalled in the English language. While they 



414 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OP 

possess, however, the superior merit of an original style, they 
are not unfreqnently deformed by instances of that ambitious 
singularity which is but too frequently its concomitant. Of 
these the introduction of rhymes long since obsolete is not the 
least striking. Though, in some cases, these revivals of anti- 
quated phrase have a pleasing effect, yet they are oftentimes 
uncouth and repulsive. Mr. Bowles has almost always thrown 
aside the common rules of the sonnet ; his pieces have no 
more claim to that specific denomination than that they are 
confined to fourteen lines. How far this deviation from 
established principle is justifiable may be disputed ; for if, on 
the one hand, it be alleged that the confinement to the stated 
repetition of rhymes, so distant and frequent, is a restraint 
which is not compensated by an adequate effect ; on the other, 
it must be conceded, that these little poems are no longer 
sonnets than while they conform to the rules of the sonnet, 
and that the moment they forsake them they ought to resign 
the appellation. 

The name bears evident affinity to the Italian sondire, " to 
resound" — "sing around," which originated in the Latin 
sonans, — sounding, jingling, ringing : or, indeed, it may 
come immediately from the French sonner, to sound, or ring, 
in which language, it is observable, we first meet with the 
word sonnette, where it signifies a little bell, and sonnettier 
a maker of little bells ; and this derivation affords a pre- 
sumption, almost amounting to certainty, that the conjecture, 
before advanced, that the sonnet originated with the Pro- 
vencals, is well founded. It is somewhat strange that these 
contending derivations have not been before observed, as they 
tend to settle a question which, however intrinsically unim- 
portant, is curious, and has been much agitated. 

But, wherever the name originated, it evidently bears rela- 
tion only to the peculiarity of a set of chiming and jingling 
terminations, and of course can no longer be applied with 
propriety where that peculiarity is not preserved. 

The single stanza of fourteen lines, properly varied in their 
correspondent closes, is, notwithstanding, so well adapted for 
the expression of any pathetic sentiment, and is so pleasing 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 415 

and satisfactory to the ear, when once accnstomed to it, that 
our poetry would suffer a material loss were it to be disused 
through a rigid adherence to mere propriety of name. At the 
same time, our language does not supply a sufficiency of similar 
terminations to render the strict observance of its rules at all 
easy or compatible with ease or elegance. The only question, 
therefore, is, whether the musical effect produced by the 
adherence to this difficult structure of verse overbalance the 
restraint it imposes on the poet, and in case we decide in the 
negative, whether we ought to preserve the denomination of 
sonnet, when we utterly renounce the very peculiarities which 
procured it that cognomen. 

In the present enlightened age, I think it will not be dis- 
puted that mere jingle and sound ought invariably to be 
sacrificed to sentiment and expression. Musical effect is a 
very subordinate consideration ; it is the gilding to the cor- 
nices of a Yitruvian edifice ; the colouring to a shaded design 
of Michael Angelo. In its place it adds to the effect of the 
whole, but when rendered a principal object of attention it is 
ridiculous and disgusting, llhyme is no necessary adjunct of 
true poetry. Southey's " Thalaba" is a fine poem, with no rhyme 
and very little measure or metre ; and the production which is 
reduced to mere prose by being deprived of its jingle, could 
never possess, in any state, the marks of inspiration. 

So far, therefore, I am of opinion that it is advisable to 
renounce the Italian fabric altogether. We have already 
sufficient restrictions laid upon us by the metrical laws of our 
native tongue, and I do not see any reason, out of a blind 
regard for precedent, to tie ourselves to a difficult structure of 
verse, which probably originated with the Troubadours, or 
wandering bards of France and Normandy, or with a yet ruder 
race ; one which is not productive of any rational effect, and 
which only pleases the ear by frequent repetition, as men who 
have once had the greatest aversion to strong wines and 
spirituous liquors, are, by habit, at last brought to regard them 
as delicacies. 

In advancing this opinion, I am aware that I am opposing 
myself to the declared sentiments of many individuals whom I 



416 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

greatly respect and admire. Miss Seward (and Miss Seward 
is in herself a host) has, both theoretically and practically, 
defended the Italian structure. Mr. Capel Lofft has likewise 
favoured the world with many sonnets, in which he shows his 
approval of the legitimate model by his adherence to its rules, 
and many of the beautiful poems of Mrs. Lout, published in 
the "Monthly Mirror/ 3 are likewise successfully formed by those 
rules. Much, however, as I admire these writers, and ample 
as is the credence I give to their critical discrimination, I 
cannot, on mature reflection, subscribe to their position of the 
expediency of adopting this structure in our poetry, and I 
attribute their success in it more to their individual powers, 
which would have surmounted much greater difficulties, than 
to the adaptability of this foreign fabric to our stubborn and 
intractable language. 

If the question, however, turn only on the propriety of 
giving to a poem a name which must be acknowledged to be 
entirely inappropriate, and to which it can have no sort of 
claim, I must confess that it is manifestly indefensible ; and 
we must then either pitch upon another appellation for our 
quatorzain, or banish it from our language ; a measure which 
every lover of true poetry must sincerely lament. 



MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. VI. 

' " Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air." 

Gray. 

Poetry is a blossom of very delicate growth ; it requires the 
maturing influence of vernal suns, and every encouragement 
of culture and attention, to bring it to its natural perfection. 
The pursuits of the mathematician or the mechanical genius, 
are such as require rather strength and insensibility of mind 
than that exquisite and finely wrought susceptibility, which 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 417 

invariably marks the temperament of the true poet ; and it is 
for this reason, that while men of science have, not unfre- 
quently, arisen from the abodes of poverty and labour, very 
few legitimate children of the Muse have ever emerged from 
the shades of hereditary obscurity. 

It is painful to reflect how many a bard now lies, nameless 
and forgotten, in the narrow house, who, had he been born to 
competence and leisure, might have usurped the laurels from 
the most distinguished personages in the temple of Eame. The 
very consciousness of merit itself often acts in direct opposi- 
tion to a stimulus to exertion, by exciting that mournful indig- 
nation at supposititious neglect which urges a sullen concealment 
of talents, and drives its possessors to that misanthropic dis- 
content which preys on the vitals, and soon produces untimely 
mortality. A sentiment like this has, no doubt, often actuated 
beings who attracted notice, perhaps, while they lived, only 
by their singularity, and who were forgotten almost ere their 
parent earth had closed over their heads — beings who lived 
but to mourn and to languish for what they were never destined 
to enjoy, and whose exalted endowments were buried with 
them in their graves, by the want of a little of that superfluity 
which serves to pamper the debased appetites of the enervated 
sons of luxury and sloth. 

The present age, however, has furnished us with two illus- 
trious instances of poverty bursting through the cloud of 
surrounding impediments, into the full blaze of notoriety and 
eminence. I allude to the two Bloomfields — bards who may 
challenge a comparison with the most distinguished favourites 
of the Muse, and who both passed the day-spring of life in 
labour, indigence, and obscurity. 

The author of the " Farmer's Boy" hath already received 
the applause he justly deserved. It yet remains for the " Essay 
on War" to enjoy all the distinction it so richly merits, as 
well from its sterling worth, as from the circumstances of its 
author. Whether the present age will be inclined to do it full 
justice, may indeed be feared. Had Mr. Nathaniel Bloomfield 
made his appearance in the horizon of letters prior to his 

EE 



418 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

brother, lie would undoubtedly have been considered as a 
tneteor of uncommon attraction; the critics would have j 
admired, because it would have been the fashion to admire- : 
But it is to be apprehended that our countrymen become inured 
to phenomena : — it is to be apprehended that the frivolity of 
the age cannot endure a repetition of the uncommon — that it 
will no longer be the rage to patronize indigent merit — that 
the beau wo?wZe will therefore neglect, and that, by a necessary 
consequence, the critics will sneer ! 

Nevertheless, sooner or later, merit will meet with its 
reward ; and though the popularity of Mr. Bloomfield may be 
delayed, he must, at one time or other, receive the meed due 
to his deserts. Posterity will judge impartially : and if bold 
and vivid images, and original conceptions, luminously dis- 
played and judiciously apposed, have any claim to the regard 
of mankind, the name of Nathaniel Bloomfield will not be 
without its high and appropriate honours. 

Rousseau very truly observes, that with whatever talent a 
man may be bom, the art of writing is not easily obtained. If 
this be applicable to men enjoying every advantage of scho- 
lastic initiation, how much more forcibly must it apply to the 
offspring of a poor village tailor, untaught, and destitute both 
of the means and the time necessary for the cultivation of the 
mind ! If the art of writing be of difficult attainment to those 
who make it the study of their lives, what must it be to him, 
who, perhaps for the first forty years of his life, never enter, 
tertained a thought that anything he could write would be 
deemed worthy of the attention of the public ! — whose only 
time for rumination was such as a sedentary and sickly employ- 
ment would allow; on the tailor's board, surrounded with 
men, perhaps, of depraved and rude habits, and impure con- 
versation. 

And yet, that Mr. N. Bloomfield' s poems display acuteness 
of remark and delicacy of sentiment, combined with much 
strength and considerable selection of diction, few will deny. 
The " Psean to Gunpowder" would alone prove both his power of 
language, and the fertility of his imagination ; ^and the following 
extract presents him to us in the still higher character of a 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 419 

bold and vivid painter. Describing the field after a battle, 

he says — 

" Now here and there, about the horrid field, 
Striding across the dying and the dead, 
Stalks up a man, by strength superior, 
Or skill and prowess in the arduous fight, 
Preserved alive : fainting he looks around ; 
Fearing pursuit — not caring to pursue. 
The supplicating voice of bitterest moans, 
Contortions of excruciating pain, 
The shriek of torture, and the groan of death, 
Surround him ; and as Night her mantle spreads, 
To veil the horrors of the mourning field, 
With cautious step shaping his devious way, 
He seeks a covert where to hide and rest : 
At every leaf that rustles in the breeze 
Starting, he grasps his sword; and every nerve 
Is ready strain'd, for combat or for flight." 

P. 12, Essay on War. 

If Mr. Bloomfield bad written nothing besides the " Elegy 
on the Enclosure of Honington Green," be would have had a 
right to be considered as a poet of no mean excellence. The 
heart which can read passages like the following without a sym- 
pathetic emotion must be dead to every feeling of sensibility. 

STANZA VI. 

" The proud city's gay wealthy train, 

Who nought but refinement adore, 
May wonder to hear me complain 

That Honington Green is no more ; 
But if to the church you ere went, 

If you knew what the village has been, 
You will sympathize while I lament 

The enclosure of Honington Green. 

VII. 

u That no more upon Honington-green 

Dwells the matron whom most I revere, 
If by pert observation unseen, 
I e'en now could indulge a fond tear. 
E E 2 



420 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

Ere her bright morn of life was o'ercast, 
When my senses first woke to the scene, 

Some short happy hours she had past 
On the margin of Honington Green. 



' Her parents with plenty were blest, 

And numerous her children, and younsr, 
Youth's blossoms her cheek yet possest, 

And melody woke when she sung: 
A widow so youthful to leave 

(Early closed the blest days he had seen), 
My father was laid in his grave, 

In the church-yard on Honington Green. 



" Dear to me was the wild thorny hill. 

And dear the brown heath's sober scene; 
And youth shall find happiness still, 

Though he rove not on common or green. 



" So happily flexile man's make, 

So pliantly docile his mind, 
Surrounding impressions we take, 

And bliss in each circumstance find. 
The youths of a more polished age 

Shall not wish these rude commons to see; 
To the bird that's enured to the cage, 

It would not be bliss to be free." 

There is a sweet and tender melancholy pervades the elegiac 
ballad efforts of Mr. Bloomfield, which has the most inde- 
scribable effects on the heart. Were the versification a little 
more polished, in some instances they wonld be read with 
immixt delight. It is to be hoped that he will cultivate this 
engaging species of composition, and (if I may venture to 
throw ont the hint) if judgment may be formed from the poems 



HENRY KIEKE WHITE. 421 

he has published, lie would excel in sacred poetry. Most 
heartily do I recommend the lyre of David to this engaging- 
bard. Divine topics have seldom been touched upon with 
success by our modern Muses ; they afford a field in which he 
would have few competitors, and it is a field worthy of his 
abilities. 

W. 



MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. VII.* 

If the situation of man, in the present life, be considered in 
all its relations and dependencies, a striking inconsistency will 
be apparent to every cursory observer. We have sure warrant 
for believing that our abode here is to form a comparatively 
insignificant part of our existence, and that on our conduct in 
this life will depend the happiness of the life to come ; yet our 
actions daily give the lie to this proposition, inasmuch as we 
commonly act like men who have no thought but for the pre- 
sent scene, and to whom the grave is the boundary of anticipa- 
tion. But this is not the only paradox which humanity 
furnishes to the eye of a thinking man. It is very generally 
the case, that we spend our whole lives in the pursuit of 
objects, which common experience informs us are not capable 
of conferring that pleasure and satisfaction which we expect 
from their enjoyment. Our views are uniformly directed to 
one point — happiness, in whatever garb it be clad, and under 
whatever figure shadowed, is the great aim of the busy multi- 
tudes whom we behold toiling through the vale of life in such 
an infinite diversity of occupation and disparity of views. 
But the misfortune is, that we seek for happiness where she 
is not to be found, and the cause of wonder, that the experience 

* My predecessor, the " Spectator," considering that the seventh 
part of our time is set apart for religious purposes, devoted every 
seventh lucubration to matters connected with Christianity and the 
severer part of morals : I trust none of my readers will regr?t that, 
in this instance, I follow so good an example. 






422 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

of ages should not have guarded us against so fatal and so 
universal an error. 

It would be an amusing speculation to consider the various 
points after which our fellow mortals are incessantly straining, 
and in the possession of which they have placed that imaginary 
chief good, which we are all doomed to covet, but which, 
perhaps, none of us, in this sublunary state, can attain. At 
present, however, we are led to considerations of a more impor- 
tant nature. We turn from the inconsistencies observable in 
the prosecution of our subordinate pursuits, from the partial 
follies of individuals, to the general delusion which seems to 
envelop the whole human race — the delusion under whose 
influence they lose sight of the chief end of their being — and 
cut down the sphere of their hopes and enjoyments to a few 
rolling years, and that too in a scene where they know there 
is neither perfect fruition nor permanent delight. 

The faculty of contemplating mankind in the abstract, apart 
from those prepossessions which, both by nature and the power 
of habitual associations, would intervene to cloud our view, is 
only to be obtained by a life of virtue and constant meditation, 
by temperance, and purity of thought. "Whenever it is attained, 
it must greatly tend to correct our motives, to simplify our 
desires, and to excite a spirit of contentment and pious resig- 
nation. We then, at length, are enabled to contemplate our 
being in all its bearings and in its full extent, and the result 
is, that superiority to common views and indifference to the 
things of this life which should be the fruit of all true philo- 
sophy, and which, therefore, are the more peculiar fruits of 
that system of philosophy which is called the Christian. 

To a mind thus sublimed, the great mass of mankind will 
appear like men led astray by the workings of wild and dis- 
tempered imaginations — visionaries who are wandering after 
the phantoms of their own teeming brains, and their anxious 
solicitude for mere matters of worldly accommodation and ease 
will seem more like the effects of insanity than of prudent 
foresight, as they are esteemed. To the awful importance of 
futurity he will observe them utterly insensible, and he will 
see, with astonishment, the few allotted years of human life 



HENRY K1RKE WHITE. 423 

wasted in providing abundance they will never enjoy, while 
the eternity they are placed here to prepare for scarcely 
employs a moment's consideration. And yet the mass of these 
poor wanderers in the ways of error have the light of truth 
shining on their very foreheads. They have the revelation of 
Almighty God himself, to declare to them the folly of worldly 
cares and the necessity for providing for a future state of 
existence. They know by the experience of every preceding 
generation, that a very small portion of joy is allowed to the 
poor sojourners in this vale of tears, and that, too, embittered 
with much pain and fear ; and yet every one is willing to flatter 
himself that he shall fare better than his predecessor in the 
same path, and that happiness will smile on liim which hath 
frowned on all his progenitors. 

Still, it would be wrong to deny the human race all claim 
to temporal felicity. There may be comparative, although 
very little positive happiness ; — whoever is more exempt from 
the cares of the world and the calamities incident to humanity — 
whoever enjoys more contentment of mind, and is more resigned 
to the dispensations of Divine Providence — in a word, whoever 
possesses more of the true spirit of Christianity than his neigh- 
bours, is comparatively happy. But the number of these, it is 
to be feared, is very small. Were all men equally enlightened 
by the illuminations of truth, as emanating from the spirit of 
Jehovah himself, they would all concur in the pursuit of virtu- 
ous ends by virtuous means — as there would be no vice, there 
would be very little infelicity. Every pain would be met with 
fortitude, every affliction with resignation. We should then 
all look back to the past with complacency, and to the future 
with hope. Even this unstable state of being would have 
many exquisite enjoyments — the principal of which would be 
the anticipation of that approaching state of beatitude to which 
we might then look with confidence, through the medium of 
that atonement of which we should be partakers, and our 
acceptance, by virtue of which, would be sealed by that purity 
of mind of which human nature is, of itself, incapable. But 
it is from the mistakes and miscalculations of mankind, to 
which their fallen natures are continually prone, that arises 



424 PEOSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

that flood of misery which overwhelms the whole race, and 
resounds wherever the footsteps of man have penetrated. It 
is the lamentable error of placing happiness in vicious indul- 
gences, or thinking to pursue it by vicious means. It is the 
blind folly of sacrificing the welfare of the future to the oppor- 
tunity of immediate guilty gratification which destroys the 
harmony of society, and poisons the peace not only of the 
immediate procreators of the errors, not only of the identical 
actors of the vices themselves, but of all those of their fellows 
who fall within the reach of their influence or example, or who 
are in any wise connected with them by the ties of blood. 

I would therefore exhort you earnestly — you who are yet 
unskilled in the ways of the world — to beware on what object 
you concentre your hopes. Pleasures may allure, pride or 
ambition may stimulate, but their fruits are hollow and deceit- 
ful, and they afford no sure, no solid satisfaction. You are 
placed on the earth in a state of probation ; your continuance 
here will be, at the longest, a very short period, and when you 
are called from hence you plunge into an eternity, the com- 
pletion of which will be in correspondence to your past life, 
unutterably happy or inconceivably miserable. Your fate will 
probably depend on your early pursuits — it will be these which 
will give the turn to your character and to your pleasures. I 
beseech you, therefore, with a meek and lowly spirit, to read 
the pages of that book, which the wisest and best of men have 
acknowledged to be the word of God. You will there find a 
rule of moral conduct, such as the world never had any idea of 
before its divulgation. If you covet earthly happiness, it is 
only to be found in the path you will find there laid down, and 
I can confidently promise you, in a life of simplicity and purity, 
a life passed in accordance with the divine word, such substan- 
tial bliss, such unruffled peace, as is no where else to be found. 
All other schemes of earthly pleasure are fleeting and unsatis- 
factory. They all entail upon them repentance and bitterness 
of thought. This alone endure th for ever — this alone embraces 
equally the present and the future— this alone can arm a man 
against every calamity — can alone shed the balm of peace over 
that scene of life when pleasures have lost their zest, and the 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 425 

mind can no longer look forward to the dark and mysterious 
future. Above all, beware of the ignis fatuus of false philo- 
sophy : that must be a very defective system of ethics which 
will not bear a man through the most trying stage of his 
existence, and I know of none that will do it but the Christian. 



MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. VIII. 

"Ocrng Xoyovg yap 7rapaKara^7]icr]v wg Xatwv 
'E£tt TTtVy adiKog iariVy r\ aKparrjg dyav, 

'iffiog Ss y* kiaiv afuportpot kcikoi, 

Anaxandride.s apud Sitidam. 

Much has been said of late on the subject of inscriptive writ- 
ing, and that, in my opinion, to very little purpose. Dr. 
Drake, when treating on this topic is, for once, inconclusive ; 
but his essay does credit to his discernment, however little it 
may honour him as a promulgator of the laws of criticism : the 
exquisite specimens it contains prove that the doctor has a 
feeling of propriety and general excellence, although he may be 
unhappy in defining them. Boileau says, briefly, " Les inscrip- 
tions doivent etre simples, courtes, et familieres" We 
have, however, many examples of this kind of writing in our 
language, which, although they possess none of these qualities, 
are esteemed excellent. Akenside's classic imitations are not 
at all simple, nothing short, and the very reverse of familiar, 
yet who can deny that they are beautiful, and in some instances 
appropriate ? Southey's inscriptions are noble pieces ; — for 
the opposite qualities of tenderness and dignity, sweetness of 
imagery and terseness of moral, unrivalled ; they are perhaps 
wanting in propriety, and (which is the criterion) produce a 
much better effect in a book than they would on a column or 
a cenotaph. There is a certain chaste and majestic gravity 
expected from the voice of tombs and monuments, which pro- 
bably would displease in epitaphs never intended to be engraved, 
and inscriptions for obelisks which never existed. 



426 PSOSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

When a man visits the tomb of an illustrious character, a 
spot remarkable for some memorable deed, or a scene connected 
by its natural sublimity with the higher feelings of the breast, 
he is in a mood only for the nervous, the concise, and the 
impressive; and he will turn with disgust alike from the 
puerile conceits of the epigrammatist and the tedious prolixity 
of the herald. It is a nice thing to address the mind in the 
workings of generous enthusiasm. As words are not capable 
of exciting such an effervescence of the sublimcr affections, so 
they can do little towards increasing it. Their office is rather 
to point these feelings to a beneficial purpose, and by some 
noble sentiment, or exalted moral, to impart to the mind that 
pleasure which results from warm emotions when connected 
with the virtuous and the generous. 

In the composition of inscriptive pieces, great attention 
must be paid to local and topical propriety. The occasion 
and the place must not only regulate the tenour, but even the 
style of an inscription : for what, in one case, would be proper 
and agreeable, in another would be impertinent and disgusting. 
But these rules may always be taken for granted, that an 
inscription should be unaffected and free from conceits ; that 
no sentiment should be introduced of a trite or hacknied 
nature ; and that the design and the moral to be inculcated 
should be of sufficient importance to merit the reader's atten- 
tion, and insure his regard. "Who would think of setting a 
stone up in the wilderness to tell the traveller what he knew 
before, or what, when he had learnt for the first time, was not 
worth the knowing ? It would be equally absurd to call aside 
his attention to a simile or an epigrammatic point. Wit on a 
monument is like a jest from a judge, or a philosopher cutting 
capers. It is a severe mortification to meet with flippancy 
where we looked for solemnity, and meretricious elegance 
where the occasion led us to expect the unadorned majesty of 
truth. 

That branch of inscriptive writing which commemorates the 
virtues of departed worth, or points out the ashes of men who 
yet live in the admiration of their posterity is, of all others, 
the most interesting, and, if properly managed, the most 
useful 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 427 

It is not enough to proclaim to the observer that he is 
drawing near to the reliques of the deceased genius, — the occa- 
sion seems to provoke a few reflections. If these be natural, 
they will be in unison with the feelings of the reader, and, if 
they tend where they ought to tend, they will leave him better 
than they found him. But these reflections must not be too 
much prolonged. They must rather be hints than dissertations. 
It is sufficient to start the idea, and the imagination of the 
reader will pursue the train to much more advantage than the 
writer could do by words. 

Panegyric is seldom judicious in the epitaphs on public 
characters ; for if it be deserved it cannot need publication, 
and if it be exaggerated it will only serve to excite ridicule. 
When employed in memorizing the retired virtues of domestic 
life, and qualities which, though they only served to cheer the 
little circle of privacy, still deserved, from their unfrequency, 
to triumph, at least for a while, over the power of the grave, 
it may be interesting and salutary in its effects. To this 
purpose, however, it is rarely employed. An epitaph-book will 
seldom supply the exigencies of character ; and men of talents 
are not always, even in these favoured times, at hand to eter- 
nize the virtues of private life. 

The following epitaph, by Mr. Hayley, is inscribed on a 
monument to the memory of Cowper, in the church of Hast 
Dereham : 

" Ye, who with warmth the public triumph feel 
Of talents dignified by sacred zeal ; 
Here to devotion's bard devoutly just. 
Pay your fond tribute due to Cowper's dust 
England, exulting in his spotless fame, 
Piatiks with her dearest sons his fav'rite name: 
Sense, Fancy, Wit, conspire not all to raise 
So clear a title to affection's praise; 
His highest honours to the heart belong; 
His virtues formed the magic of his song." 

<: This epitaph," says a periodical critic,* " is simply elegant 
and appropriately just/' I regard this sentence as peculiarly 

* The " Monthly Reviewer." 



428 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

unfortunate, for the epitaph seems to me to be elegant without 
simplicity dcn.dijust without propriety. No one will deny that 
it is correctly written, and that it is not destitute of grace ; but 
in what consists its simplicity I am at a loss to imagine. 
The initial address is laboured and circumlocutory. There 
is something artificial rather than otherwise in the personi- 
fication of England, and her ranking the poet's name " with 
her dearest sons," instead of with those of her dearest sons, 
is like ranking poor John Doe with a proper bona fide son of 
Adam, in a writ of arrest. Sense, fancy, and wit, " raising a 
title," and that to " affection's praise," is not very simple, and 
not over intelligible. Again the epitaph is just because it is 
strictly true ; but it is by no means, therefore, appropriate. 
Who that would turn aside to visit the ashes of Cowper, would 
need to be told that England ranks him with her favourite 
sons, and that sense, fancy, and wit were not his greatest 
honours, for that his virtues formed the magic of Iris song : or 
who, hearing this, would be the better for the information ? 
Had Mr. Hayley been employed in the monumental praises 
of a private man, this might have been excusable, but speak- 
ing of such a man as Cowper it is idle. This epitaph is not 
appropriate, therefore, and we have shown that it is not 
remarkable for simplicity. Perhaps the respectable critics 
themselves may not feel inclined to dispute this point very 
tenaciously. Epithets are very convenient little things for 
rounding off a period ; and it will not be the first time that 
truth has been sacrificed to verbosity and antithesis. 

To measure lances with Hayley may be esteemed presump- 
tuous ; but probably the following, although much inferior as 
a composition, would have had more effect than his polished 
and harmonious lines : — 

INSCRIPTION FOR A MONUMENT TO THE MEMORY OF 
COWPER. 

Reader ! if with no vulgar sympathy 
Thou view'st the wreck of genius and of worth, 
Stay thou thy footsteps near this hallowed spot. 
Here Cowper rests. Although renown have made 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 429 

His name familiar to thine ear, this stone 

May tell thee that his virtnes were above 

The common portion : — that the voice, now hush'd 

In death, was once serenely qnerulons 

With pity's tones, and in the ear of woe 

Spake mnsic. Now forgetful at thy feet 

His tired head presses on its last long rest, 

Still tenant of the tomb ; — and on the cheek 

Once warm with animation's lambent flush, 

Sits the pale image of unmark'd decay. 

Yet mourn not. He had chosen the better part ; 

And these sad garments of mortality 

Put off, we trust, that to a happier land 

He went a light and gladsome passenger. 

Sigh'st thou for honours, reader ? Call to mind 

That glory's voice is impotent to pierce 

The silence of the tomb ! but virtue blooms 

Even on the wrecks of life, and mounts the skies ! 

So gird thy loins with lowliness, and walk 

"With Cowper on the pilgrimage of Christ. 

This inscription is faulty from its length, but if a painter 
cannot get the requisite effect at one stroke, he must do it by 
many. The laconic style of epitaphs is the most difficult to 
be managed of any, inasmuch as most is expected from' it. A 
sentence standing alone on a tomb or a monument, is ex- 
pected to contain something particularly striking ; and when 
tins expectation is disappointed, the reader feels like a man 
who, having been promised an excellent joke, is treated with 
a stale conceit or a vapid pun. The best specimen of this 
kind, which I am acquainted with, is that on a Erench general : 

" Siste, Viator ; Heroem calcas /" 
Stop traveller ; thou treadest on a hero I 



430 PEOSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. IX. 

" Scires e sanguine natos." 

Otid. 

It is common for busy and active men to behold the occupa- 
tions of the retired and contemplative person with contempt. 
They consider his speculations as idle and unproductive : as 
they participate in none of his feelings, they are strangers to 
his motives, his views, and his delights : they behold him. 
elaborately employed on what they conceive forwards none of 
the interests of life, contributes to none of its gratifications, 
removes none of its inconveniences : they conclude, therefore, 
that he is led away by the delusions of futile philosophy, that 
he labours for no good, and lives to no end. Of the various 
frames of mind which they observe in hhn, no one seems to 
predominate more, and none appears to "them more absurd 
than sadness, which seems, in some degree, to pervade all his 
views, and shed a solemn tinge over all his thoughts. Sad- 
ness, arising from no personal grief, and connected with no 
individual concern, they regard as moon-struck melancholy, 
the effect of a mind overcast with constitutional gloom, and 
diseased with habits of vain and fanciful speculation. " We 
can share with the sorrows of the unfortunate," say they, 
u but this monastic spleen merits only our derision : it tends 
to no beneficial purpose, it benefits neither its possessor nor 
society." Those who have thought a little more on this 
subject than the gay and busy crowd will draw conclusions 
of a different nature. That there is a sadness, springing from 
the noblest and purest sources, a sadness friendly to the 
human heart, and, by direct consequence, to human nature in 
general, is a truth which a little illustration will render 
tolerably clear, and which, when understood in its full force, 
may probably convert contempt and ridicule into respect. 

I set out then with the proposition, that the man who 
thinks deeply, especially if his reading be extensive, will, 
unless his heart be very cold and very light, become habituated 
to a pensive, or, with more propriety, a mournful cast of 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 431 

thought. This will arise from two more particular sources — 
from the view of human nature in general, as demonstrated 
by the experience both of past and present times, and from 
the contemplation of individual instances of human depravity 
and of human suffering. The first of these is, indeed, the 
Last in the order of time, for his general views of humanity are 
in a manner consequential, or resulting from the special, but 
I have inverted that order for the sake of perspicuity. 

Of those who have occasionally thought on these subjects, 
I may, with perfect assurance of their reply, inquire what 
have been their sensations when they have, for a moment, 
attained a more enlarged and capacious notion of the state of 
man in all its bearings and dependencies ? They have found, 
and the profoundest philosophers have done no more, that 
they are enveloped in mystery, and that the mystery of man's 
situation is not without alarming and fearful circumstances. 
They have discovered that all they know of themselves is that 
they live, but that from whence they came, or whither they are 
going, is by Nature altogether hidden; that impenetrable 
gloom surrounds them on every side, and that they even hold 
their morrow on the credit of to-day, when it is, in fact, 
buried in the vague and indistinct gulf of the ages to come ! 
These are reflections deeply interesting, and lead to others so 
awful, that many gladly shut their eyes on the giddy and 
unfathomable depths which seem to stretch before them. The 
meditative man, however, endeavours to pursue them to the 
farthest stretch of the reasoning powers, and to enlarge his 
conceptions of the mysteries of his own existence, and the 
more he learns, and the deeper he penetrates, the more cause 
does he find for being serious, and the more inducements to 
be continually thoughtful. 

If, again, we turn from the condition of mortal existence, 
considered in the abstract, to the qualities and characters of 
man, and his condition in a state of society, we see things 
perhaps equally strange and infinitely more affecting. In the 
economy of creation, we perceive nothing inconsistent 
with the power of an all-wise and all-merciful God. A 
perfect harmony runs through all the parts of the universe. 



432 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

Plato's syrens sing not only from the planetary octave, but 
through all the minutest divisions of the stupendous whole : 
order, beauty, and perfection, the traces of the great architect, 
glow through every particle of his work. At man, however, 
we stop : there is one exception. The harmony of order 
ceases, and vice and misery disturb the beautiful consistency 
of creation, and bring us first acquainted with positive evil. 
We behold men carried irresistibly away by corrupt principles 
and vicious inclinations, indulging in propensities, destructive 
as well to themselves as to those around them ; the stronger 
oppressing the weaker, and the bad persecuting the good ! 
we see the depraved in prosperity, the virtuous in adversity, 
the guilty unpunished, the undeserving overwhelmed with 
unprovoked misfortunes. Erom hence we are tempted to 
think, that He, whose arm holds the planets in their course, 
and directs the comets along their eccentric orbits, ceases 
to exercise his providence over the affairs of mankind, and 
leaves them to be governed and directed by the impulses of 
a corrupt heart, or the blind workings of chance alone. Yet 
this is inconsistent both with the wisdom and goodness of the 
Deity. If God permit evil, he causes it : the difference is 
casuistical. "We are led, therefore, to conclude, that it was 
not always thus : that man was created in a far different and 
far happier condition ; but that, by some means or other, he 
has forfeited the protection of his Maker. Here then is a 
mystery. The ancients, led by reasonings alone, perceived it 
with amazement, but did not solve the problem. They 
attempted some explanation of it by the lame fiction of a 
golden age and its cession, where, by a circular mode of 
reasoning, they attribute the introduction of vice to their 
gods having deserted the earth, and the desertion of the 
gods to the introduction of vice* This, however, was the 

* Kai tots dr) irpog bXvjnrov airo x^ovog tvpvSeirjg, 
Aevkokjiv (papEEGGi Ka\vipa[i£vio XP oa KaXov, 
AOavarwv fxera (pvXov Irov, 7rpoXt7rorr' avQpuyrrovQ 
Aid(og /cat ~Ntfjis<Jig' ra ds Xti-iperai aXyea Xvypa 
OvrjToig av0p(O7roi<n, kcikov cT ovk eaasrai clXkyj, 

Hesiod. Opera et Dies, lib. i., 1. 195: 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 433 

logic of the poets; the philosophers disregarded the fable, 
but did not dispute the fact it was intended to account for. 
They often hint at human degeneracy, and some unknown 
curse hanging over our being, and even coming into the 
world along with us. Pliny, in the preface to his seventh 
book, has this remarkable passage: "The animal about to 
rule over the rest of created animals, lies weeping, bound 
hand and foot, making his first entrance upon life with sharp 
pangs, and this, for no other crime than that he is horn 
man'' Cicero, in a passage, for the preservation of which 
we are indebted to St. Augustine, gives a yet stronger idea of 
an existing degeneracy in human nature : " Man," says he, 
" comes into existence, not as from the hands of a mother, 
but of a step-dame nature, with a body feeble, naked, and 
fragile, and a mind exposed to anxiety and care, abject in 
fear, unmeet for labour, prone to licentiousness, in which, 
however, there still dwell some sparks of the divine mind, 
though obscured, and, as it were, in ruins." And, in another 
place, he intimates it as a current opinion, that man comes 
into the world as into a state of punishment expiatory of 
crimes committed in some previous stage of existence, of 
which we now retain no recollection. 

Erom these proofs, and from daily observations and 
experience, there is every ground for concluding that man 
is in a state of misery and depravity quite inconsistent with 
the happiness for which, by a benevolent God, he must have 
been created. We see glaring marks of this in our own 
times. Prejudice alone blinds us to the absurdity and the 
horror of those systematic murders which go by the name of 
wars, where man falls on man, brother slaughters brother, 
where death, in every variety of horror, preys " on the finely 

" Victa jacet Pietas: et Virgo coede madentes, 
Ultima ccelestuin terras Astrsea reliquit." 

Ovid. Metamor., I. i., fab. 4. 

"Paulatim deinde ad Superos Astraea recessit, 
Hac comite atque duae pariter fugere sorores." 

Juvenal, sat. vi., 1. 19. 



434 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

fibred human frame" and where the cry of the widow and 
the orphan rise np to heaven long after the thunder of the 
fight and the clang of arms have ceased, and the bones of 
sons, brothers, and husbands slain are grown white on the 
field. Customs like these vouch, with most miraculous organs, 
for the depravity of the human heart, and these are not the 
most mournful of those considerations which present them- 
selves to the mind of the thinking man. 

Private life is equally fertile in calamitous perversion of 
reason and extreme accumulation of misery. On the one 
hand, we see a large proportion of men sedulously employed 
in the eduction of their own ruin, pursuing vice in all its 
varieties, and sacrificing the peace and happiness of the 
innocent and unoffending to their own brutal gratifications ; 
and on the other, pain, misfortune, and misery, overwhelming 
alike the good and the bad, the provident and the im- 
provident. But too general a view would distract our 
attention : let the reader pardon me if I suddenly draw him 
away from the survey of the crowds of life to a few detached 
scenes. TTe will select a single picture at random. The 
character is common. 

Eehold that beautiful female who is rallying a well-dressed 
young man with so much gaiety and humour. Did you ever 
see so lovely a countenance? There is an expression of 
vivacity in her fine dark eye which quite captivates one ; and 
her smile, were it a little less bold, would be bewitching. 
How gay and careless she seems ! One would suppose she 
had a very light and happy heart. Alas ! how appearances 
deceive ! This gaiety is all feigned. It is her business to 
please, and beneath a fair and painted outside she conceals an 
inquiet and forlorn breast. TVhen she was yet very young, 
an engaging but dissolute young man took advantage of her 
simplicity, and of the affection with which he had inspired 
her, to betray her virtue. At first her infamy cost her many- 
tears ; but habit wore away this remorse, leaving only a kind 
of indistinct regret, and, as she fondly loved her betrayer, she 
experienced, at times, a mingled pleasure even in this aban- 
doned situation. But this was soon over. Her lover, on 
pretence of a journey into the country, left her for ever. She 



HENRY KIKKE WHITE. 435 

soon afterwards heard of his marriage, with an agony of grief 
which few can adequately conceive, and none describe. The 
calls of want, however, soon subdued the more distracting 
ebullitions of anguish. She had no choice left ; all the gates 
of virtue were shut upon her, and though she really abhorred 
the course, she was obliged to betake herself to vice for 
support. Her next keeper possessed her person without her 
heart. She has since passed through several hands, and has 
found, by bitter experience, that the vicious, on whose gene- 
rosity she is thrown, are devoid of all feeling but that of 
self -gratification, and that even the wages of prostitution are 
reluctantly and grudgingly paid. She now looks on all men 
as sharpers. She smiles but to entangle and destroy, and 
while she simulates fondness, is intent only on the extorting 
of that, at best poor pittance, which her necessities loudly 
demand. Thoughtless as she may seem, she is not without 
an idea of her forlorn and wretched situation, and she looks 
only to sudden death as her refuge, against that time when 
her charms shall cease to allure the eye of incontinence, when 
even the lowest haunts of infamy shall be shut against her, 
and, without a friend or a hope, she must sink under the 
pressure of want and disease. 

But we will now shift the scene a little, and select another 
object. Behold yon poor weary wretch, who, with a child wrapt 
in her arms, with difficulty drags along the road. The man with 
a knapsack, who is walking before her, is her husband, and is 
marching to join his regiment. He has been spending, at a 
dram-shop, in the town they have just left, the supply which 
the pale and weak appearance of his wife proclaims was 
necessary for her sustenance. He is now half drunk, and is 
venting the artificial spirits which intoxication excites in the 
abuse of his weary help-mate behind him. She seems to 
listen to his reproaches in patient silence. Her face will tell 
you more than many words, as with a wan and meaning look 
she surveys the little wretch who is asleep on her arm. The 
turbulent brutality of the man excites no attention: she is 
pondering on the future chance of life, and the probable lot of 
her heedless little one. 

I? 2 



436 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

One other picture, and I have done. The man pacing with 
a slow step and languid aspect over yon prison court, was once 
a fine dashing fellow, the admiration of the ladies and the 
envy of the men. He is the only representative of a once 
respectable family, and is brought to this situation by unlimited 
indulgence at that time when the check is most necessary. 
He began to figure in genteel life at an early age. His mis- 
judging mother, to whose sole care he was left, thinking no 
alliance too good for her darling, cheerfully supplied his extra- 
vagance, under the idea that it would not last long, and that 
it would enable him to shine in those circles where she wished 
him to rise. But he soon found that habits of prodigality 
once well gained are never eradicated. His fortune, though 
genteel, was not adequate to such habits of expense. His 
unhappy parent lived to see him make a degrading alliance, 
and come in danger of a jail, and then died of a broken heart. 
His affairs soon wound themselves up. His debts were enor- 
mous, and he had nothing to pay them with. He has now 
been in that prison for many years, and since he is excluded 
from the benefit of an insolvency act, he has made up his mind 
to the idea of ending his days there. His wife, whose beauty 
had decoyed him, since she found he could not support her, 
deserted him for those who could, leaving him without friend 
or companion, to pace, with measured steps, over the court of 
a country jail, and endeavour to beguile the lassitude ot impri- 
sonment, by thinking on the days that are gone, or counting 
the squares in his grated window in every possible direction^ 
backwards, forwards, and across, till he sighs to find the sum 
always the same, and that the more anxiously we strive to 
beguile the moments in their course the more sluggishly they 
travel. 

If these are accurate pictures of some of the varieties of 
human suffering, and if such pictures are common even to 
triteness, what conclusions must we draw as to the condition 
of man in general, and what must be the prevailing rrame of 
mind of him who meditates much on these subjects, and who, 
unbracing the whole tissue of causes and effects, sees Misery 
invariably the offspring of Vice, and Yice existing in hostility 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 437 

to the intentions and wishes of God ? Let the meditative man 
tnrn where he will he finds traces of the depraved state of 
Nature and her consequent misery. History presents him 
with little but murder, treachery, and crime of every descrip- 
tion. Biography only strengthens the view, by concentrating 
it. The philosophers remind him of the existence of evil, by 
their lessons how to avoid or endure it ; and the very poets 
themselves afford him pleasure, not unconnected with regret, 
as either by contrast, exemplification, or deduction, they bring 
the world and its circumstances before his eyes. 

That such an one then is prone to sadness, who will wonder ? 
If such meditations are beneficial, who will blame them ? The 
discovery of evil naturally leads us to contribute our mite 
towards the alleviation of the wretchedness it introduces. 
While we lament vice, we learn to shun it ourselves, and to 
endeavour, if possible, to arrest its progress in those around 
us ; and in the course of these high and lofty speculations, we 
are insensibly led to think humbly of ourselves, and to lift up 
our thoughts to him who is alone the fountain of all perfection 
and the source of all good. 

W. 



MELANCHOLY HOURS.— No. X. 

" La rime est une esclave, et ne doit qu'obeir." 

Boileau, L'Art Poetique. 

Experiments in versification have not often been successful. 
Sir Philip Sidney, with all his genius, great it undoubtedly 
was, could not impart grace to his hexameters or fluency to 
his sapphics. Spenser's stanza was new, but his verse was 
familiar to the ear; and though his rhymes were frequent even 
to satiety, he seems to have avoided the awkwardness of 
novelty, and the difficulty of unpractised metres. Donne had 
not music enough to render his broken rhyming couplets 
sufferable, and neither his wit nor his pointed satire were suffi- 
cient to rescue him from that neglect which his uncouth and 
rugged versification speedily superinduced. 



433 PEOSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

Tn our times, Mr. Southey has given grace and melody to 
some of the Latin and Greek measures, and Mr. Bowles has 
written rhyming heroics, wherein the sense is transmitted 
from couplet to couplet, and the pauses are varied with all the 
freedom of blank verse, without exciting any sensation of rug- 
gedness, or offending the nicest ear. But these are minor 
efforts : the former of these exquisite poets has taken a yet 
wider range, and in his " Thalaba, the Destroyer," has spurned 
at all the received laws of metre, and framed a fabric of verse 
altogether his own. 

An innovation, so bold as that of Mr. Southey, was sure to 
meet with disapprobation and ridicule. The world naturally 
looks with suspicion on systems which contradict established 
principles, and refuse to quadrate with habits, which, as they 
have been used to, men are apt to think cannot be improved 
upon. The opposition which has been made to the metre of 
"Thalaba," is, therefore, not so much to be imputed to its want 
of harmony as to the operation of existing prejudices : and it 
is fair to conclude, that, as these prejudices are softened by 
usages, and the strangeness of novelty wears off, the peculiar 
features of this lvrical frame of verse will be more candidly 
appreciated, and its merits more unreservedly acknowledged. 

"Whoever is conversant with the writings of this author, 
will have observed and admired that greatness of mind, and 
comprehension of intellect, by which he is enabled, on all occa- 
sions, to throw off the shackles of habit and prepossession. 
Southey never treads in the beaten track; his thoughts, 
while they are those of nature, carry that cast of originality 
which is the stamp and testimony of genius. He views things 
through a peculiar phasis, and while he has the feelings of a 
man, they are those of a man almost abstracted from mortality, 
and reflecting on, and painting the scenes of life, as if he were 
a mere spectator, uninfluenced by his own connexion with the 
objects he surveys. To this faculty of bold discrimination I 
attribute many of Mr. Southey' s peculiarities as a poet. He 
never seems to inquire how other men would treat a subject, 
or what may happen to be the usage of the times ; but filled 
with that strong sense of fitness, which is the result of bold 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 439 

and unshackled thought, he fearlessly pursues that course 
which his own sense of propriety points out. 

It is very evident to me, and, I should conceive, to all who 
consider the subject attentively, that the structure of verse, 
which Mr. Southey has promulgated in his " Thalaba," was 
neither adopted rashly, nor from any vain emulation of origin- 
ality. As the poet himself happily observes, " It is the ara- 
besque ornament of an Arabian tale" No one would wish 
to see the " Joan of Arc " in such a garb ; but the wild freedom 
of the versification of " Thalaba" accords well with the romantic 
wildness of the story , and I do not hesitate to say, that, had 
any other known measure been adopted, the poem would have 
been deprived of half its beauty and all its propriety. In 
blank verse it would have been absurd ; in rhyme insipid. The 
lyrical manner is admirably adapted to the sudden transitions 
and rapid connexions of an Arabian tale, while its variety 
precludes tsedium, and its full, because unshackled, cadence 
satisfies the ear with legitimate harmony. At first, indeed, 
the verse may appear uncouth, because it is new to the ear : 
but I defy any man who has any feeling of melody, to peruse 
the whole poem without paying tribute to the sweetness of 
its flow and the gracefulness of its modulations. 

In judging of this extraordinary poem, we should consider 
it as a genuine lyric production, — we should conceive it as 
recited to the harp, in times when such relations carried 
nothing incredible with them. Carrying this idea along with 
us, the admirable art of the poet will strike us with tenfold 
conviction ; the abrupt sublimity of his transitions, the sublime 
simplicity of his manner, and the delicate touches by which he 
connects the various parts of his narrative, will then be more 
strongly observable, and we shall, in particular, remark the 
uncommon felicity with which he has adapted his versification, 
and in the midst of the wildest irregularity, left nothing to 
shock the ear, or offend the judgment. 

W. 



440 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 



MELANCHOLY HOURS. — No. XI. 

THE PROGRES9 OF KNOWLEDGE. 

Eew histories would be more worthy of attention than that of 
the progress of knowledge, from its first dawn to the time of 
its meridian splendour, among the ancient Greeks. Unfor- 
tunately, however, the precautions which, in this early period, 
were almost generally taken to confine all knowledge to a 
particular branch of men ; and when the Greeks began to con- 
tend for the palm among learned nations, their backwardness 
to acknowledge the sources from whence they derived the 
first principles of their philosophy, have served to wrap this 
interesting subject in almost impenetrable obscurity. Eew 
vestiges, except the Egyptian hieroglyphics, now remain of 
the learning of the more ancient world. Of the two millions 
of verses said to have been written by the Chaldean Zoroaster,* 
we have no relics, and the oracles which go under his name 
are pretty generally acknowledged to be spurious. 

The Greeks unquestionably derived their philosophy from 
the Egyptians and Chaldeans. Both Pythagoras and Plato 
had visited those countries for the advantage of learning ; and 
if we may credit the received accounts of the former of these 
illustrious sages, he was regularly initiated in the schools of 
Egypt, during the period of twenty-two years that he resided 
in that country, and became the envy and admiration of the 
Egyptians themselves. Of the Pythagorean doctrines we have 
some accounts remaining, and nothing is wanting to render 
the systems of Platonism complete and intelligible. In the 
dogmas of these philosophers, therefore, we may be able to 
trace the learning of these primitive nations, though our con- 
clusions must be cautiously drawn, and much must be allowed 

* Pliny. 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 441 

to the active intelligence of two Greeks. Ovid's short sum- 
mary of the philosophy of Pythagoras deserves attention : — 

"Isque, licet coeli regione remotos 



Mente Deos adiit : et, qua3 natura negabat 
Visibus huraanis, oculis ea pectoris hausit. 
Cumque animo et vigili perspexerat omnia cura; 
In medium discenda dabat : ccetumque silentum, 
Dictaque mirantum, magni primordia mundi 
Et rerum causas et quid natura docebat, 
Quid Deus : unde nives : quae fulminis esset origo 
Jupiter, an venti, discussa nube, tonarent, 
Quid quateret terras : qua sidera lege mearent 
Et quodcumque latet." 

If we are to credit this account, and it is corroborated by 
many other testimonies, Pythagoras searched deeply into 
natural causes. Some have imagined, and strongly asserted, 
that his central fire was figurative of the sun, and, therefore, 
that he had an idea of its real situation ; but this opinion, so 
generally adopted, may be combated with some degree of 
reason. I should be inclined to think Pythagoras gained his 
idea of the great, central, vivifying, and creative fire from the 
Chaldeans, and that, therefore, it was the representative not 
of the sun, but of the Deity. Zoroaster taught that there was 
one God, Eternal, the Eather of the Universe : he assimilated 
the Deity to light, and applied to him the names of Light, 
Beams, and Splendour. The Magi, corrupting this represen- 
tation of the Supreme Being, and taking literally what was 
meant as an allegory or symbol, supposed that God was this 
central fire, the source of heat, light, and life, residing in the 
centre of the universe; and from hence they introduced among 
the Chaldeans the worship of fire. That Pythagoras was 
tainted with this superstition is well known. On the testi- 
mony of Plutarch, his disciples held, that in the midst of the * 
world is fire, or in the midst of the four elements is the fiery 
globe of Unity; or Monad — the procreative, nutritive, and 
excitative power. The sacred fire of Yesta, among the Greeks 
and Latins, was a remain of this doctrine. 



442 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

As the limits of this paper will not allow me to take in all 
the branches of this subject, I shall confine my attention to 
the opinions held by these early nations of the nature of the 
Godhead. 

Amidst the corruptions introduced by the Magi, we may 
discern, with tolerable certainty, that Zoroaster taught the 
worship of the one true God: and Thales, Pythagoras, and 
Plato, who had all been instituted in the mysteries of the 
Chaldeans, taught the same doctrine. These philosophers like- 
wise asserted the omnipotence and eternity of God ; and that 
he was the creator of all things, and the governor of the 
universe. Plato decisively supported the doctrines of future 
rewards and punishments ; and Pythagoras, struck with the 
idea of the omnipresence of the Deity, defined him as animus 
per universas mundi partes omnemque naturam commeans 
atque diffusus, ex quo omnia qua nascuntur animalia vitam 
capiunt* — an intelligence moving upon, and diffused over all 
the parts of the universe and all nature, from which all animals 
derive their existence. As for the swarm of gods worshipped 
both in Egypt and Greece, it is evident they were only 
esteemed as inferior deities. In the time of St. Paul, there 
was a temple at Athens inscribed to the unknown God : and 
Hesiod makes them younger than the earth and heaven. 

E£ apxVQ ovQ Tata Kai Ovpavog svpvg stiktov 
Ot r' ck nop eyevovTo j3eoi dujrrjpeg taw. 

Theog. 

If Pythagoras and the other philosophers who succeeded 
him paid honour to these gods, they either did it through 
fear of encountering ancient prejudices, or they reconciled it 
by recurring to the Dsemonology of their masters, the Chal- 
deans, who maintained the agency of good and bad daemons, 
who presided over different things, and were distinguished 
into the powers of light and darkness, heat and cold. It is 

* Lactantius Div. Inst. lib. cap. 5, etiam, Minucius Felix. 
" Pythagorae Deus est animus per universam rerum naturam coin- 
means atque intentus ex quo etiam animalium omnium vitacapiatur.' 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 443 

remarkable, too, that amongst all these people, whether 
Egyptians or Chaldeans, Greeks or Romans, as well as every 
other nation nnder the snn, sacrifices were made to the gods, 
in order to render them propitious to their wishes, or to 
expiate their offences — a fact which proves that the con- 
viction of the interference of the Deity in human affairs is 
universal : and what is much more important, that this custom 
is primitive, and derived from the first inhabitants of the world. 
* * * # 



MELANCHOLY HOURS— No. XII. 

While the seat of empire was yet at Byzantium, and that 
city was the centre, not only of dominion, but of learning and 
politeness, a certain hermit had fixed his residence in a 
cell, on the banks of the Athyras, at the distance of about 
ten miles from the capital. The spot was retired, although 
so near the great city, and was protected, as well by woods 
and precipices, as by the awful reverence with which, at that 
time, all ranks beheld the character of a recluse. Indeed the 
poor old man, who tenanted the little hollow, at the summit 
of a crag, beneath which the Athyras rolls its impetuous 
torrent, was not famed for the severity of his penances or the 
strictness of his mortifications. That he was either studious 
or protracted his devotions to a late hour, was evident, for 
his lamp was often seen to stream through the trees which 
shaded his dwelling, when accident called any of the peasants 
from their beds at unseasonable hours. Be this as it may, no 
miracles were imputed to him; the sick rarely came to 
petition for the benefit of his prayers, and, though some both 
loved him and had good reason for loving him, yet many 
undervalued him for the want of that very austerity which 
the old man seemed most desirous to avoid. 

It was evening, and the long shadows of the Thracian 
mountains were extending still farther and farther along the 



444 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OP 

plains, when this old man was disturbed in his meditations by 
the approach of a stranger. " How far is it to Byzantium ?" 
was the question put by the traveller ? " Not far to those who 
know the country," replied the hermit, "but a stranger would 
not easily find his way through the windings of these woods 
and the intricacies of the plains beyond them. Do you see 
that blue mist which stretches along the bounding line of the 
horizon as far as the trees will permit the eye to trace it ? 
That is the Propontis ; and higher up on the left, the city of 
Constantinople rears its proud head above the waters. But 
I would dissuade thee, stranger, from pursuing thy journey 
farther to-night. Thou mayst rest in the village, which is 
half-way down the hill ; or if thou wilt share my supper of 
roots, and put up with a bed of leaves, my cell is open to 
thee." "I thank thee, father," replied the youth, "I am 
weary with my journey, and will accept thy proffered hospi- 
tality." They ascended the rock together. The hermit's 
cell was the work of nature. It penetrated far into the rock, 
and in the innermost recess was a little chapel, furnished with 
a crucifix, and a human skull, the objects of the hermit's 
nightly and daily contemplation, for neither of them received 
his adoration. That corruption had not as yet crept into the 
Christian Church. The hermit now lighted up a fire of dried 
sticks (for the nights are very piercing in the regions about 
the Hellespont and the Bosphorus), and then proceeded to 
prepare their vegetable meal. While he was thus employed, 
his young guest surveyed, with surprise, the dwelling which 
he was to inhabit for the night. A cold rock-hole, on the bleak 
summit of one of the Thracian hills, seemed to him a comfort- 
less choice for a weak and solitary old man. The rude 
materials of his scanty furniture still more surprised him. A 
table fixed to the ground, a wooden bench, an earthen lamp, 
a number of rolls of papyrus and vellum, and a heap of leaves 
in a corner, the hermit's bed, were all his stock. "Is it 
possible," at length he exclaimed, " that you can tenant this 
comfortless cave, with these scanty accommodations, through 
choice ? Go with me, old man, to Constantinople, and receive 
from me those conveniences which befit your years." " And 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 445 

what art thou going to do at Constantinople, my yonng 
friend?" said the hermit, "for thy dialect bespeaks thee a 
native of more southern regions. Am I mistaken, art thou 
not an Athenian ?" " I am an Athenian," replied the youth, 
" by birth, but I hope I am not an Athenian in vice. I have 
left my degenerate birth-place in quest of happiness. I have 
learned from my master, Speusippus, a genuine asserter of 
the much belied doctrines of Epicurus, that as a future state 
is a mere phantom and vagary of the brain, it is the only true 
wisdom to enjoy life while we have it. But I have learned 
from him also, that virtue alone is true enjoyment. I am 
resolved therefore to enjoy life, and that too with virtue, as 
my companion and guide. My travels are begun with the 
design of discovering where I can best unite both objects ; 
enjoyment the most exquisite, with virtue the most perfect. 
You perhaps may have reached the latter, my good father; 
the former you have certainly missed. To-morrow I shall 
continue my search. At Constantinople I shall laugh and 
sing with the gay, meditate with the sober, drink deeply of 
every unpolluted pleasure, and taste all the fountains of 
wisdom and philosophy. I have heard much of the accomplish- 
ments of the women of Byzantium. With us females are 
mere household slaves ; here, I am told, they have minds. I 
almost promise myself that I shall marry, and settle at 
Constantinople, where the loves and graces seem alone to 
reside, and where even the women have minds. My good 
father, how the wind roars about this aerial nest of yours, and 
here you sit, during the long cold nights, all alone, cold and 
cheerless, when Constantinople is just at your feet, with all 
its joys, its comforts, and its elegancies. I perceive that the 
philosophers of our sect, who succeeded Epicurus, were right, 
when they taught that there might be virtue without enjoy- 
ment, and that virtue without enjoyment is not worth the 
having." The face of the youth kindled with animation as he 
spake these words, and he visibly enjoyed the consciousness 
of superior intelligence. The old man sighed, and was silent. 
As they ate their frugal supper, both parties seemed involved 
in deep thought. The young traveller was dreaming of the 



446 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

Byzantine women: his host seemed occupied with far dif- 
ferent meditations. " So yon are travelling to Constantinople 
in search of happiness ? " at length exclaimed the hermit, " I, 
too, have been a suitor of that divinity, and it may be of use 
to you to hear how I have fared. The history of my life will 
serve to fill up the interval before we retire to rest, and my 
experience may not prove altogether useless to one who is 
about to go the same journey which I have finished. 

" These scanty hairs of mine were not always grey, nor these 
limbs decrepid : I was once like thee, young, fresh, and vigor- 
ous, full of delightful dreams and gay anticipations. Life 
seemed a garden of sweets, a path of roses ; and I thought I 
had but to choose in what way I would be happy. I will pass 
over the incidents of my boyhood, and come to my maturer 
years. I had scarcely seen twenty summers when I formed 
one of those extravagant and ardent attachments of which 
youth is so susceptible. It happened that, at that time, I bore 
arms under the emperor Theodosius in his expedition against 
the Goths, who had overrun a part of Thrace. In our return 
from a successful campaign we staid some time in the Greek 
cities which border on the Euxine. In one of these cities I 
became acquainted with a female, whose form was not more 
elegant than her mind was cultivated and her heart untainted. 
I had done her family some trivial services, and her gratitude 
spoke too warmly to my intoxicated brain to leave any doubt 
on my mind that she loved me. The idea was too exquisitely 
pleasing to be soon dismissed. I sought every occasion of 
being with her. Her mild persuasive voice seemed like the 
music of heaven to my ears, after the toils and roughness of 
a soldier's life. I had a friend too, whose converse, next to 
that of the dear object of my secret love, was most dear to me. 
He formed the third in all our meetings, and beyond the 
enjoyment of the society of these two I had not a wish. I had 
never yet spoken explicitly to my female friend, but I fondly 
hoped we understood each other. Why should I dwell on the 
subject ? I was mistaken. My friend threw himself on my 
mercy. I found that he, not I, was the object of her affec- 
tions. Young man, you may conceive, but I cannot describe 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 447 

what I felt, as I joined their hands. The stroke was severe, 
and, for a time, unfitted me for the duties of my station. I 
suffered the army to leave the place without accompanying 
it: and thus lost the rewards of my past services, and for- 
feited the favour of my sovereign. This was another source 
of anxiety and regret to me, as my mind recovered its wonted 
tone. But the mind of youth, however deeply it may feel for 
awhile, eventually rises up from dejection, and regains its 
wonted elasticity. That vigour by which the spirit recovers 
itself from the depths of useless regret, and enters upon new 
prospects with its accustomed ardour, is only subdued by time. 
I now applied myself to the study of philosophy, under a Greek 
master, and all my ambition was directed towards letters. 
But ambition is not quite enough to fill a young man's heart. 
I still felt a void there, and sighed as I reflected on the happi- 
ness of my friend. At the time when I visited the object of 
my first love, a young christian woman, her frequent com- 
panion, had sometimes taken my attention. She was an Ionian 
by birth, and had all the softness and pensive intelligence 
which her countrywomen are said to possess whenunvitiated by 
the corruption so prevalent in that delightful region. You are 
no stranger to the contempt with which the Greeks then 
treated, and do still, in some places, treat the Christians. 
This young woman bore that contempt with a calmness which 
surprised me. There were then but few converts to that reli- 
gion in those parts, and its profession was therefore more 
exposed to ridicule and persecution from its strangeness. 
Notwithstanding her religion, I thought I could love this 
interesting and amiable female, and in spite of my former mis- 
take, I had the vanity to imagine I was not indifferent to her. 
As our intimacy increased, I learned, to my astonishment, that 
she regarded me as one involved in ignorance and error, and 
that, although she felt an affection for me, yet she would never 
become my wife while I remained devoted to the religion of 
my ancestors. Piqued at this discovery, I received the books, 
which she now for the first time put into my hands, with pity 
and contempt. I expected to find them nothing but the 
repositories of a miserable and deluded superstition, more 



443 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF H. K. WHITE. 

presuming than the mystical leaves of the Sibyls, or the obscure 
triads of Zoroaster. How was I mistaken ! There was much 
which I could not at all comprehend ; but, in the midst of this 
darkness, the effect of my ignorance, I discerned a system of 
morality, so exalted, so exquisitely pure, and so far removed 
from all I would have conceived of the most perfect virtue, 
that all the philosophy of the Grecian world seemed worse 
than dross in the comparison. My former learning had only 
served to teach me that something was wanting to complete 
the systems of philosophers. Here that invisible link was 
supplied, and I could even then observe a harmony and consis- 
tency in the whole, which carried irresistible conviction to my 
mind. I will not enlarge on this subject. Christianity is not 
a mere set of opinions to be embraced by the understanding. 
It is the work of the heart as well as the head. Let it suffice 
to say, that, in time, I became a Christian and the husband of 
Sapphira, 



449 



REFLECTIONS. 



ON PRAYER. 



If there be any duty which our Lord Jesus Christ seems to 
have considered as more indispensably necessary towards the 
formation of a true Christian, it is that of prayer. He has taken 
every opportunity of impressing on our minds the absolute 
need in which we stand of the divine assistance, both to persist 
in the paths of righteousness and to fly from the allurements 
of a fascinating but dangerous life ; and he has directed us to 
the only means of obtaining that assistance in constant and 
habitual appeals to the throne of Grace. Prayer is certainly 
the foundation-stone of the superstructure of a religious life, 
for a man can neither arrive at true piety, nor persevere in its 
ways when attained, unless with sincere and continued fer- 
vency, and with the most unaffected anxiety, he implore 
Almighty God to grant him his perpetual grace, to guard and 
restrain him from all those derelictions of heart to which we 
are, by nature, but too prone. I should think it an insult to 
the understanding of a Christian to dwell on the necessity of 
prayer, and before we can harangue an infidel on its efficacy, 
we must convince him, not only that the being to whom we 
address ourselves really exists, but that he condescends to 
hear and to answer our humble supplications. As these 
objects are foreign to my present purpose, I shall take my 
leave of the necessity of prayer, as acknowledged by all to 
whom this paper is addressed, and shall be content to expatiate 
on the strong inducements which we have to lift up our souls 
to our Maker in the language of supplication and of praise. 
To depict the happiness which results to the man of true piety 

GG 



450 PKOSE COMPOSITIONS OP 

from the exercise of this duty, and, lastly, to warn mankind, 
lest their fervency should carry them into the extreme of 
fanaticism, and their prayers, instead of being silent and unas- 
suming expressions of gratitude to their Maker, and humble 
entreaties for his favouring grace, should degenerate into 
clamorous vociferations and insolent gesticulations, utterly 
repugnant to the true spirit of prayer and to the language of 
a creature addressing his Creator. 

There is such an exalted delight to a regenerate being in 
the act of prayer, and he anticipates with so much pleasure, 
amid the toils of business, and the crowds of the world, the 
moment when he shall be able to pour out his soul without 
interruption into the bosom of his Maker, that I am persuaded, 
that the degree of desire or repugnance which a man feels to 
the performance of this amiable duty is an infallible criterion 
of his acceptance with God. Let the unhappy child of dissi- 
pation — let the impure voluptuary boast of his short hours of 
exquisite enjoyment; even in the degree of bliss they are 
infinitely inferior to the delight of which the righteous man 
participates in his private devotions, while in their opposite 
consequences they lead to a no less wide extreme than heaven 
and hell, a state of positive happiness and a state of positive 
misery. If there were no other inducement to prayer than 
the very gratification it imparts to the soul, it would deserve 
to be regarded as the most important object of a Christian; 
for no where else could he purchase so much calmness, so 
much resignation, and so much of that peace and repose of 
spirit, in which consists the chief happiness of this otherwise 
dark and stormy being. But to prayer, besides the inducement 
of momentary gratification, the very self-love implanted in our 
bosoms would lead us to resort, as the chief good, for our 
Lord hath said, " Ask, and it shall be given to thee ; knock, 
and it shall be opened ; 3} and not a supplication made in the 
true spirit of faith and humility but shall be answered ; not a 
request which is urged with unfeigned submission and low- 
liness of spirit but shall be granted, if it be consistent with 
our happiness either temporal or eternal. Of this happiness, 
however, the Lord God is the only judge; but this we do 



HENUY KTRKE WHITE. 451 

know, that whether our requests be granted, or whether they 
be refused, all is working together for our ultimate benefit. 

When I say, that such of our requests and solicitations as 
are urged in the true spirit of meekness, humility, and sub- 
mission, will indubitably be answered, I would wish to draw a 
line between supplications so urged, and those violent and 
vehement declamations, which, under the name of prayers, are 
sometimes heard to proceed from the lips of men professing to 
worship God in the spirit of meekness and truth. Surely I 
need not impress on any reasonable mind, how directly con- 
trary these inflamed and bombastic harangues are to every 
precept of Christianity, and every idea of the deference due 
from a poor worm, like man, to the Omnipotent and all great 
God. Can we hesitate a moment, as to which is more accept- 
able in his sight — the diffident, the lowly, the retiring, and yet 
solemn and impressive form of worship of our excellent Church, 
and the wild and laboured exclamations, the authoritative 
and dictatory clamours of men, who, forgetting the immense 
distance at which they stand from the awful Being whom they 
address boldly and with unblushing front, speak to their God 
as to an equal, and almost dare to prescribe to his infinite 
wisdom, the steps it shall pursue. How often has the silent 
yet eloquent eye of misery wrung from the reluctant hand of 
charity that relief which has been denied to the loud and 
importunate beggar ; and, is Heaven to be taken by storm ? 
Are we to wrest the Almighty from his purposes by vociferation 
and importunity ? God forbid ! It is a fair and a reasonable, 
though a melancholy inference, that the Lord shuts his ears 
against prayers like these, and leaves the deluded supplicants 
to follow the impulse of their own headstrong passions, 
without a guide, and destitute of every ray of his pure and 
holy light. 

Those mock apostles, who thus disgrace the worship of the 
true God by their extravagance, are very fond of appearing to 
imitate the conduct of our Saviour during his mortal pere- 
grination ; but how contrary were his habits to those of these 
deluded men ! Did he teach his disciples to insult the ear of 
Heaven with noise and clamour ? "Were his precepts those of 



452 PKOSE COMPOSITIONS OP 

fanaticism and passion? Did he inflame the minds of his 
nearers with vehement and declamatory harangues ? Did he 
pray with all this confidence — this arrogance — this assurance ? 
How different was his conduct ! He divested wisdom of all 
its pomp and parade, in order to suit it to the capacities of the 
meanest of his auditors. He spake to them in the lowly 
language of parable and similitude, and when he prayed, did 
he instruct his hearers to attend to him with a loud chorus of 
Aniens ? Did he (participating as he did in the Godhead), 
did he assume the tone of sufficiency and the language of 
assurance ? Far from it ! he prayed, and he instructed his 
disciples to pray, in lowliness and meekness of spirit ; he 
instructed them to approach the throne of Grace with fear and 
trembling, silently and with the deepest awe and veneration ; 
and he evinced by his condemnation of the prayer of the self 
sufficient pharisee, opposed to that of the diffident publican, 
the light in which those were considered in the eyes of the 
Lord, who, setting the terrors of his Godhead at defiance, and 
boldly building on their own unworthiness, approached him 
with confidence and pride. * * * 



There is nothing so indispensably necessary towards the 
establishment of future earthly, as well as heavenly happiness, 
as early impressions of piety. Tor as religion is the sole 
source of all human welfare and peace, so habits of religious 
reflection, in the spring of life, are the only means of arriving 
at a due sense of the importance of divine concerns in age, 
except by the bitter and hazardous roads of repentance and 
remorse. There is not a more awful spectacle in nature than 
the death-bed of a late repentance. The groans of agony 
which attend the separation of the soul from the body, height- 
ened by the heart-piercing exclamation of mental distress, the 
dreadful ebullitions of horror and remorse, intermingled with 
the half -fearful, but fervent deprecations of the divine wrath, 
and prayers for the divine mercy, joined to the pathetic implor- 



HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 453 

ings to the friends who stand weeping around the bed of the 
sinner to pray for him, and to take warning from his awful 
end, contribute to render this scene such an impressive and 
terrible memento of the state of those who have neglected 
their souls, as must bring to a due sense of his duty the most 
hardened of infidels. 

It is to ensure you,, my young friends, as far as precept can 
ensure you, from horrors like these in your last moments, that 
I write tliis little book, in the hopes, that through the blessing 
of the Divine Being, it may be useful in inducing you to reflect 
on the importance of early piety, and lead you into the 
cheerful performance of your duties to God and to your own 
souls. In the pursuit of this plan, I shall, first, consider the 
bliss which results from a pious disposition, and the horrors of 
a wicked one. Secondly, the necessity of an early attention 
to the concerns of the soul towards the establishment of 
permanent religion, and its consequent happiness; and, 
thirdly, I shall point out, and contrast, the last moments of 
those who have acted in conformity, or in contradiction^ to 
the rules here laid down. 

The contrast between the lives of the good and the wicked 
man affords such convincing arguments in support of the 
excellence of religion, that even those infidels who have 
dared to assert their disbelief of the doctrine of revelation, 
have confessed, that in a political point of view, if in no other, 
it ought to be maintained. Compare the peaceful and collected 
course of the virtuous and pious man with the turbulent 
irregularity and violence of him who neglects his soul for 
the allurements of vice, and judge for yourselves of the 
policy of \ he conduct of each, even in this world. Whose 
pleasures are the most exquisite? Whose delights the 
most lasting? Whose state is the most enviable? His, 
who barters his hopes of eternal welfare for a few fieeting 
moments of brutal gratification, or his, who while he keeps 
a future state alone in his view, finds happiness in the con- 
scientious performance of his duties, and the scrupulous 
fulfilment of the end of his sojourn here ? Believe me, my 
friends, there is no comparison between them. The joys of 



454 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF 

the infatuated mortal who sacrifices his soul to his sensualities 
are mixed with bitterness and anguish. The voice of coi> 
science rises distinctly to his ear, amid the shouts of intern 
perance and the sallies of obstreperous mirth. In the hour 
of rejoicing she whispers her appalling monitions to him, and 
his heart sinks within him, and the smile of triumphant 
villany is converted into the ghastly grin of horror and hope- 
lessness. But, oh ! in the languid intervals of dissipation^ 
in the dead hour of the night, when all is solitude and silence, 
when the soul is driven to commune with itself, and the voice 
of remorse, whose whispers were before half drowned in the 
noise of riot, rise dreadfully distinct — what ! — what are his 
emotions! — Who can paint his agonies, his execrations, his 
despair ! Let that man lose again, in the vortex ( if fashion, 
and folly, and vice, the remembrance of his horrors ; let him 
smile, let him laugh and be merry : believe me, my dear 
reader's, he is not happy, he is not careless, he is not the 
jovial being he appears to be. His heart is heavy within 
him ; he cannot stifle the reflections which assail him in the 
very moment of enjoyment ; but strip the painted veil from 
his bosom, lay aside the trappings of folly, and that man is 
miserable, and not only so, but he has purchased 1 hat misery 
at the expense of eternal torment. 

Let us oppose to this awful picture the life of the good man ; 
of him who rises in the morning, with cheerfulness, to praise 
his Creator for all the good he hath bestowed upon him, 
and to perform with studious exactness the duties of his 
station, and lays himself down on his pillow in the evening 
in the sweet consciousness of the applause of his own 
heart. Place this man on the stormy seas of misfortune and 
sorrow — press him with afflictive dispensations of Providence — = 
snatch from his arms the object of his affections — separate him 
for ever from all he loved and held dear on earth, and leave 
him isolated and an outcast in the world ; — he is calm — he is 
composed — he is grateful — he weeps, for human nature is 
weak, but he still preserves his composure and resignation — 
ne still looks up to the Giver of all good with thankfulness 
and praise, and perseveres with calmness and fortitude in the 



HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 455 

paths of righteousness. His disappointments cannot overwhelm 
him, for liis chief hopes were placed far, very far, beyond the 
reach of human vicissitude. " He hath chosen that good par 
which none can take away from him." 

Here then Kes the great excellence of religion and piety 
they not only lead to eternal happiness, but to the happiness 
of this world ; they not only ensure everlasting bliss, but then 
are the sole means of arriving at that degree of felicity which 
this dark and stormy being is capable of, and are the sole sup- 
ports in the hour of adversity and affliction. How infatuated 
then must that man be who can wilfully shut his eyes to his 
own welfare, and deviate from the paths of righteousness 
which lead to bliss. Even allowing him to entertain the erro- 
neous notion that religion does not lead to happiness in this 
life, his conduct is incompatible with every idea of a reason- 
able being. In the " Spectator" we find the following image, 
employed to induce a conviction of the magnitude of this 
truth : " Supposing the whole body of the earth were a great 
ball, or mass of the finest sand, and that a single grain, or 
particle oi this sand, should be annihilated every thousand 
years ; su] ^posing then that you had it in your choice to be 
happy all the while this prodigious mass was consuming, by 
this slow method, till there was not a grain of it left, on con- 
dition that you were to be miserable ever after ; or supposing 
that you might be happy for ever after, on condition you 
would be miserable till the whole mass of sand were thus anni- 
hilated, at the rate of one sand a thousand years ; which of 
these two cases would you make your choice ?" 

Tt must be confessed that in this case so many * * * 



456 PROSE COMPOSITIONS OF H. K. WHITE. 

The life of man is transient and unstable; its fairest passages 
are but a lighter shade of evil, and yet those passages form 
but a disproportionate part of the picture. We a] I seek hap* 
piness. though with different degrees of avidity, while the 
fickle object of our pursuits continually evades the grasp of 
those who are the most eager in the chase; and, perhaps, at 
last throws herself into the arms of those who had entirely- 
lost sight of her, and who, when they are most blessed with 
her enjoyment, are least conscious that they possess her. 
Were the objects in which we placed the consummation of our 
wishes always virtuous, and the means employed to arrive at 
the bourn of our desires uniformly good, there can be little 
doubt that the aggregate of mankind would be as happy as is 
consistent with the state in which they live ; but, unfortunately, 
vicious men pursue vicious ends by vicious means, and by so 
doing not only ensure their own misery,. but they overturn 
and destroy the fair designs of the wiser and the better of 
their kind. Thus he who has no idea of a bliss beyond the 
gratification of his brutal appetites, involves in the crime of 
seduction the peace and the repose of a good and happy 
family, and an individual act of evil extends itself by a con- 
tinued impulse over a large portion of society. It is thus that 
men of bad minds become the pests of the societies of which 
they happen to be members. It is thus that the virtuous 
among men pay the bitter penalty of the crimes anil follies of 
their unworthy fellows. 

Men who have passed their whole lives in the lap of luxury 
and enjoyment, have no idea of misery beyond that; of which 
they happen to be the individual objects. 







*Sfc» 



ND. 



ards, Printers, Charidos-street, Covent -garden. 



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